Advent: Longing for Peace

 

Once again, hatred and violence seemed to rule the day. The scenes of death and shock and grief flooded the news following the terrible attacks in Paris, and we were reminded again that no one is really immune to the evil intentions of others. It happened, and it will happen again… somewhere.

Such is our world in these times. But this is not the way it has to be, nor is it what God intended for God’s world.

In a matter of days, we will move into the season of Advent. And Advent is about promises—God’s promises! The God who created us and loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend has acted in the course of history to give us hope and, yes, peace.

Isaiah the prophet lived in times of trouble and persecution, too. And yet, God revealed to him a vision of a new day… a day when God will intervene and judge the nations, “and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4).

Of course, that time is not here yet. War is raging all around us. It is in the world and it is on our streets here at home. And that is because of the ongoing battle that rages in the human heart. The Bible calls it sin. Sin can be anything that comes between us and God, including a distorted view of God.

What is our hope? Isaiah gives us the answer. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’.”

Imagine that. Our hope is in a tiny baby born in a manger in an insignificant village in an obscure part of the world. Our hope is in Jesus Christ. More than a teacher, or a prophet, or a worker of miracles, God gave us the Savior of the world! Only Christ can take away sins and change hearts…or show us true peace. Only Christ can give us real hope and salvation.

You see, God did act… and is acting to bring light into the darkness of this world; to bring love and goodness to our lives; to show us a better way.  It may not seem like it at times. We may even find ourselves wondering what God is doing. But no matter how dark it gets, we still have the Light!

May you and yours have a blessed and light- brightened Christmas. In Christ,

Mike

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