Advent Week 4: Prince of Peace – Jesus as Peacemaker and Peacekeeper

Listen to Isaiah 11

Can I admit I don’t find this time of year particularly peaceful? At times as I’m inundated with the demands and expectations and schedule of the season, I feel more like frowning than rejoicing.

I stare around me with my Grinch feelings nervously humming, narrow eyed at the small and large whos in my life who seem to need and want. Wanting my time, my effort, my memory, my schedule.

And the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise!

The noise of other people wanting and asking, the noise of our culture demanding simplicity and opulence in equal measure. The noise of my own thoughts of ‘when will it stop, when will they learn, when will it all be done’.

Quiet contemplation is few and far between when there’s ironing of concert shirts and finishing of stocking stuffers.

Oh the Noise, Noise, Noise, Noise!

Noise in my head and my heart that make it difficult for me to find the still small voice that resonates peace in my heart. That centering voice that brings calm to the storm and rest to the weary.

When I think of Jesus as Prince of Peace, I don’t often associate it with my own sense of personal stillness. When Jesus comes in all his fullness, when our waiting is over, there will be a rightness and a peace in the world that we cannot even imagine in our current surroundings.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
    the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
    and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
    and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
    on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
    as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:5-9

My own personal lions and lambs don’t often lie quietly together. My hand drifts to the viper’s nest and I recoil, bitten.

And my faith grows less trusting and childlike as I try to make sense of my whirling world around me.

But as I trudge through the glitter and gilt of the commercial world, I let my eyes glaze over for just a minute and turn inward. Because Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Christmas, indeed, means a whole lot more.

It means that the driving force of my peace isn’t in the checking off my to do list. It isn’t in the fluidity of my hostessing, nor in the lack of arguments at family gatherings.

Peace comes from being within the circle of God’s intention and presence, rather than without. Peace comes from changing my to do list into the simple ‘to be’.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying that there aren’t obligations and dire needs.

But there is peace available. Because the one who can control the conflicting forces of nature and cause there to be an impossible balance, can bring balance to me.

Our peace is found in the midst of the busyness. It’s the breath of prayer as we deal with an overtired, over-sugared child (or adult). It’s the quiet moment as we hide in the bathroom at a tense family party, striving and choosing to see God’s work in the lives of others. It’s the sigh of thankfulness as we are surrounded by a mountain of wrapping paper.

Jesus offers us a way to peace. A relationship to peace where he guides us along, step by peaceful step.

Reflection for the Week

How is your sense of peace?

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with the expectations and

commitments of the season?

Do you sing peace on earth but wish for peace of heart?

Read Isaiah 11:6-9

As you read, imagine yourself walking through the world described by Isaiah.

What feelings does this evoke in you?

Do you feel a sense of peace, a sense of longing?

Do you wish that the peace portrayed reflected the level of peace in your heart?

Read the passage a second time.
This time as you read, seek out truths about your heart’s peace that God may be point out to you.

Are there places in your life were you need God’s intervening peace?

Have you been substituting closure and accomplishment for real peace?

Ask God to show you ways and moments where you can seek time with Him.

Where are some areas where you need Jesus to be Prince of Peace in your life?

Ask Jesus to intervene in these areas in your live, showing you the way to peace in Him.

Commit to seeking His peace in your daily life this season.

Commit to praying for that peace in the lives of others.

Carol of the Week – Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel (Listen) (Lyrics)

Liturgical Readings for the week of December 20

Daily Readings from Watershed Church’s Vade Mecum (Check out my contribution to the devotional for the 4th Week of Advent)