Advent Lament: Peace that Passes Understanding

They gazed upon the vast sky – each star tempting them with a glimpse of heaven – daring them to see past their doubt and into eternity. In the cool crisp air, they waited – waited in the stillness of the midnight sky – waited with a sense of wonder. God’s glory touched man – God’s heart for humanity reached down past the heavens and enveloped these tattered souls.

old barn
Photo Credit: Loren Kerns via Flickr

The shepherds jumped in fright and God’s good news broke through their fear. Luke 2:10-12 gives us a glimpse into this moment and declares, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Do not be afraid. In the midst of the miraculous, an angel of the Lord proclaimed comfort and compassion. A message was proclaimed to all men and this message was peace – a peace that would draw these shepherds before the presence of a king.

Picket signs are scattered randomly, “Guns Kill.” Strike lines are filled – declaring their stance on gun control. Conservatives retort their defense – declaring their right to bear arms. “If only there would have been someone with a concealed weapon.” “If only there would have been stricter gun control laws.”  Those two words have caused us to question justice and mercy. These words have caused us to leave the solitude of God’s presence in search of man-made politics. We are searching for someone to blame – someone to make sense of countless deaths and bloodshed. Thousands demand their right to be heard, yet fear is the foundation of their cry. The countless bodies of men, women and children become nothing more than pawns in political propaganda and the victims remain unheard – unseen.

Terrorism’s greatest threat is peace – the type of peace that’s beyond political influence – the type of peace that’s secured in Christ’s victory. A peace that passes all understanding. The heavens declare the glory of God – the same glory that reached down and touched humanity many years ago – the same glory that brought peace to the world in the form of a child wrapped in swaddling clothes. As Isaiah 6:10 declares, “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.”

The shepherds watched and waited. They received the favor of God’s peace, because they positioned themselves in God’s presence. What is our stance in times of waiting? Do we rise in defiance and beat our breast or do we cling to the old rugged cross – the same splintered cross that was thrust upon our Savior?

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