“You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself,
is the Rock eternal.”
Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)
Peace is elusive. Especially in a world like ours. Especially in times like these.
It seems that every time we turn on the news we find our peace slipping away. Nation rages against nation. People wreak violenceupon each other. Even the weather seems to be getting worse all the time – the storms seem to get stronger, the disasters bigger.
In times like these, does it even make sense to talk about peace, never mind to hope for it?
The story of the birth of Jesus was also filled with danger, with trouble, with a lack of peace. Herod wanted to kill the baby, and indeed – he killed many in the attempt to stop Jesus from fulfilling his destiny as King.
One of my favourite Christmas songs starts with these words: “It was not a silent night, there was blood on the ground, you could hear a woman cry in the alleyway that night, on the streets of David’s town.”
You see, as much as we love the silent, peaceful, pretty Christmas card images of the birth of the Messiah – it wasn’t really like that.
It was real. Which means it was messy and painful and confusing even while it was beautiful and precious. Because real life is like that – all the things messed up together.
So yes, it makes sense to talk about peace. At least, it does when we are focused in the right direction. When we are oriented towards the One who came to bring us peace. When we are centered on the Rock eternal, who keeps us in perfect peace.
So, this Advent, may you remember that though it was not a silent night, it certainly was a holy one. And may you find yourself drawn to the One who is our perfect peace, for this moment and for every moment.