This Advent we’ve been doing a blog series to celebrate how our loving God came near and revealed Himself to us in Jesus. We’ve looked at the themes of Joy, Love and Hope. Our final theme, on this Christmas eve, is Peace.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
As we’ve been approaching Christmas, Peace is everywhere. Angels proclaiming it, people wishing it, Carols and songs declare it on earth, church signs speak of it like never before.
Yet peace also seems so far away at this time of year. The frantic shopping, the manic planning, the pace of everything around us. Peace on Earth, you’ve gotta be kidding.
The word “peace” is used 459 times in the Bible. When Jesus sent his disciples out to declare the new Kingdom he asked them to wish peace on each house they entered. Pioneering 13th century friary, Francis of Assisi encouraged his followers to do the same. Peace feels important to our faith journey …but how on earth does this work?
If you want to start a new relationship with Peace this Christmas and New Year, can I suggest an ABC to help you along…
A is for attitude. Mother Teresa famously declared “peace starts with a smile.” Peace is something tangible that we can choose. We can decide to be peaceful in our school , in our home or at work. We can decide to bring peace where we go. It doesn’t make it easy but we can choose to try.
B is for Blessing. Those first disciples brought Peace as a blessing or as a simple prayer. We can declare “peace” in a place, to people or to a setting. “Peace be with you” is one of the oldest and most effective prayers we can pray.
C is for Calm. Peace is the bringer of calm – either on a micro scale in our well being and mental health or on a macro level in the absence of war and of the removal of conflict. This peace is “God’s peace” …it’s different, out of this world and holy. Jesus said that “peace-makers” would be blessed. One of our calls is to be active bringers of calm in conflict. Our job is to find peace where there is none. What might happen if we focused on that in our churches and in our lives?
Francis of Assisi once prayed “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”
God we pray that for us once again this Advent.
If you’d like to journey with us this Advent season, you can read our next blog ‘Hope’ on Christmas Eve, Monday 24th December, and visit our previous blog at 24-7prayer.co.uk/news.