I was asked to share an Advent reflection on the theme of "Peace" in our worship gathering this Sunday. This is what I plan to share:
Isaiah 9:6, “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Prince of Peace.
I am the least qualified person to be talking about Peace during the Advent season. This is certainly why God is having me do it. Every year since I’ve been married, I’ve been a stressed out basket case from Thanksgiving to New Years. I fret about shopping for 20 family members. I agonize over how to divvy up Christmas Eve and Christmas Day between our three sets of parents. I worry about not being fair or making the wrong choice, and having my parents or in-laws angry with me. I lose sleep thinking about packing and traveling on airplanes with two kids. Finding cute Christmas outfits for the kids and myself is another silly pressure I put on myself. (Andy always has an abundance of cute Christmas outfits!) Weighing whether or not to attempt a Christmas letter and a visit to the photographer is yet another seasonal anxiety. My heart has been everything BUT peaceful at Christmastime.
I looked up the Hebrew and Greek words for peace and learned that they denote a state of “untroubled, undisturbed well-being, both internally and externally.” Untroubled, undisturbed, well-being. It goes on to say, “Such a state of peace is brought about by God granting us deliverance from all the distresses we experience as a result of sin. Hence the message of salvation is called the gospel of peace.” Deliverance from all the distresses I experience. Yes, this is the kind of peace I need.
I’ve made some changes this year to create room for peace. For example, as of December 1st, we finished all of our Christmas shopping! This is a first, and will certainly help. But I have a hunch that peace is about more than good planning. I think peace is something I’m going to have to choose to ask for on a daily, or perhaps even hourly, basis this month.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.” Do I believe Jesus can give me his peace in my most frantic, out-of-perspective moments? Do I even want his peace? Or do I prefer the annual tradition of my holiday pity party?
Peace is ultimately a person. Who will I choose this month? The Princess of Perfectionism and Pity Parties? Or the Prince of Peace?