Peace for troubled times
God laughed. That’s the only explanation for a snowstorm which confounded expectations. On Monday afternoon I took Bear and Kiki, my beloved Newfoundland dogs, for their afternoon walk and was dismayed to see my dirt road was dirt and not snow covered.
The weather forecast said we might get a few inches of snow by Tuesday morning but when I woke there was already 10 inches of snow on the ground and by the time it finished the totals were closer to 24 inches of snow.
And that’s just the way it is sometimes when you’re waiting for things to change and it seems like you’re amid a drought and then the floodgates open and the deluge is greater than what we’d planned for. Of course, that’s the good kind of outpouring, but sometimes it’s not so good. Covid-19 cases rise, businesses close, jobs are lost, savings are depleted, for the second time this year. We’d planned for five inches of snow but received twenty-four.
This moment feels like that. We enter the season of Advent on Sunday, four weeks of anticipating the birth of Christ. We will light a candle around the Advent wreath to mark each week. One for peace, hope, joy, and love.
Our bellies are likely still full of Thanksgiving dinner, but this Thanksgiving was very different for most of us. Many of us ate dinner alone this year to keep loved ones healthy and the pandemic at bay.
Many of us are planning for fewer presents under the Christmas tree because jobs are scarce, and budgets are tight.
And then there’s an election season which seems to have no end.
What we need is peace. What we long for is the nourishing balm of goodwill toward men.
“…they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:5)
Sometimes war is not waged with guns. In a divided nation what can we do to bring peace? As we wait for the Prince of Peace, how can we be bearers of peace to our neighbors? Overcome fear and loneliness, with love and comfort?
God is at work in us and through us, when we allow ourselves to be conduits of God’s fairness, justice, and kindness. When we work to find common ground with people who do not share our faith, our political views, or moral compass. When we are the first to admit that we are wrong.
What if each day we choose to create one small act of kindness – dedicated to God, dedicated to bringing God’s peace on earth?
When we are waiting for the storm to end, we may find ourselves impatient with waiting. We tire of wearing our masks, being distant from family we haven’t seen in ten months, in turning the other cheek.
Yet the season of Advent calls us to wait, not with exhaustion but with anticipation. To lay down our troubled spirits and rest and renew ourselves to continue forward until the journey’s end.
We glimpse a glimmer of hope in the distance. It’s there, we can feel it, a momentary glimpse of blue sky behind grey clouds. We can exchange our troubled impatience with a trusting spirit of anticipation, knowing as Hebrews 11:1 promises, that what we hope for will be seen in due course if we hold onto our faith.
As I sit in my living room warmed by the fire, I can wait for the snowstorm to end and remain at peace because I know the storm will pass and the sun’s warmth will be felt on my shoulders.
I curl into the depths of my chair, content with the silence, an opened book nearby, a pen in my hand as I scribble these words in my journal. I can rest here because I have come in from the storm.
God is calling each of us to come in from the storm. Not to hide from life’s challenges. But to find rest in God’s peace. And after we are renewed, to take that peace into the world and share it with our neighbors. To heal broken spirits and broken hearts.
“Peace be with you, my peace I leave you”, Jesus the Prince of Peace, promised. And so, we wait for Him. And until He comes, we take His peace and share it with the world, one person at a time.