As we come to the end of another year facing a pandemic, there is much to reflect upon. Many have experienced pain, loneliness, depression and even despair. On one hand, we have witnessed death of loved ones, loss of jobs, political strife, economic uncertainty, disagreement and mistreatment of others –often among family members and in faith communities. On another hand, we have also seen the best in people demonstrated by love in action: the untiring sacrifice of health workers, risking their own health and that of their family members; the compassion of neighbors, church members, and communities coming together to help those in need.
As you reflect on it all, what stands out in your mind? What keeps you going with Hope? For me it is first a promise. I am thinking of a promise given by Jesus to His disciples during a time of uncertainty, fear and confusion: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27, NIV). How comforting is His Peace. Understood as Shalom in the Old Testament or Sozo in the New Testament, His Peace brings wholenessofspirit,bodyandsoulamidstour brokenness. It brings a calming sense of wellbeing and healing to any emotional and spiritual despair as we face the storms of life. Inspiration summarizes it well:
“Sin has destroyed our peace. While self is unsubdued, we can find no rest… We are as helpless here as were the disciples…. But He who spoke peace to the billows of Galilee has spoken the word of peace for every soul. However fierce the tempest, those who turn to Jesus with the cry, ‘Lord, save us,’ will find deliverance. His grace, that reconciles the soul to God, quiets the strife of human passion, and in His love the heart is at rest”– Desire of Ages, 336. A
Oh how the world longs for this peace today! Perhaps it is no surprise that after the promise of peace, Jesus gives a call to action. The peace and rest we experience is not for our benefit alone. What we receive we are to impart to others: “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:21, NIV). We are called to GO and share it with others in these difficult times.
We are now approaching the Advent season. It is a time when Christians around the world remember and celebrate the greatest gift the world has ever received: Jesus, our Savior, the Prince of Peace. While conflict and divisiveness abound, and though love has grown dim even among some Christians, may we come to Jesus and invite the Prince of Peace to fill our hearts and minds with His Shalom. May we seek Him, remembering that His grace is sufficient. Then, as we experience Him, may we accept the call to action and go and be ambassadors of His peace and love for a world in great need–for this is how others will know we are His disciples, if we love one another (John 13:35).
O Come and Go, Ambassadors of Peace! Merry Christmas to all!