Advent Reflections: Peace

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." - Luke 2:14

Today is the 2nd Sunday of Advent - the Sunday we begin a week-long celebration of peace.  Peace is so much more than just a lack of fighting.  Sure, we want that for our world - but the peace that the Bible talks about is so much deeper than that.  It's an absence of striving, a quiet confidence in God, even in the midst of great conflict.

So how do we find that peace, when everything around us is chaos?  Surprisingly, one of the quickest doorways to that inner quietness can be a little noisy: it's praise.

Try reading Psalm 148 out loud, with all of the depths of joy in your voice that are there in those words, and not feeling peaceful.  It's not possible!  When you're calling yourself and the entirety of creation into perspective, when you're declaring with your words (and remembering as you say them) that God is GOD - that He created the entire world and is worthy of praise, and that He has raised up a Saviour (for that's what Psalm 148: 14 means by the word "horn" (or "king" or "strong one")) for the people close to His heart (that's us) - you can't remain stuck in anxiety.  You can go back to it if you want to (but why would you?) - but you can't truly praise Him without cultivating peace and confidence.  Peace will pervade your soul as you fix your mind on Christ, remembering Who He is, and what He's done/is doing/will do.

Whatever your situation is this morning, remember the Greater Story that you are a part of, and be at peace:

"Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.  ....  The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death, a light has dawned.  ....  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end.  He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.  The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."  - Isaiah 9:1-9

No more gloom.  No more darkness.  Light.  Justice.  Righteousness.  Peace.   These are the hallmarks of the kingdom in which we now live.

So then:

"Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.  Praise the LORD." - Psalm 150:6

"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and has redeemed His people." - Luke 1:68

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." - Ephesians 1:2

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