What does peace look like?
I would say peace looks like waking up at the cottage to a beautiful sunrise over a perfectly still lake. It’s the freshness of the air. It’s a quietness that restores and refreshes.
Maybe you think peace looks like a quiet house, a good book, a long walk. Or, instead of picturing something specific, maybe we define it negatively; peace is the absence of struggle, violence, conflict.
One of the themes we celebrate during advent and Christmas is peace. We read from Isaiah how unto us a child is born whose name will be Prince of Peace. We read of shepherds being overwhelmed by a heavenly choir announcing peace on earth. It’s a beautiful truth to celebrate. The Prince of Peace has come down to earth to bring us his peace.
This Christmas I have been reflecting on what this peace looks like. It is apparent that there is a certain lack of peace in the world. Not only out there in the world, but I often lack peace in my own life. Does that mean that this peace we celebrate at Christmas has failed?
Matthew tells us that after Jesus is born, his family flees from persecution, dwelling as refugees in Egypt. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has to flee for his life. So maybe peace is not the immediate removal of conflict, discomfort, circumstance. Maybe it’s about the person who is present in the midst of difficult situations.
It’s been said many times and in many ways, but this Christmas let us see that peace is not the absence of struggle. Rather, it is the presence of one who can carry us through that struggle. Let us see peace not as swift deliverance from the sorrow of losing a loved one, from the uncertainty of what lies ahead, from a terrifying health challenge, but as the presence of God who walks with us.