Friday, December 17, 2010

Second Week of Advent- The Hope of the Age / Instrument of Peace

This week's Advent post [focus] is supposed to be about hope.  The problem is, I keep trying to get inspiration for a post on Hope and my mind keeps circling back to Peace.  I guess it's because at this time of year in particular, I think of Jesus, and when I think of Jesus the first thing that pops into my head is Prince of Peace. Jesus has so many different monikers assigned to him - Emmanuel, Messiah, Lamb of God, Savior, King of Kings... but I think my favorite is Prince of Peace.
The world was at the time of his birth, as it still is now, full of turmoil and division.  Jesus' coming was not without its own turmoil; there were many who didn't want Jesus to be born at all and many more who were skeptical and disbelieving of his identity.  Anger, outrage, hostility and division surrounded Jesus his whole life, yet through it all he remained the Prince of Peace, never rising to the bait that was hurled at him in the form of insult, degradation and assault.  To live in peace was something he practiced and demonstrated throughout his life and ministry, until the very end he was a peaceful man and continues to be our Prince of Peace today even though he no longer walks the earth.

Upon further pondering of the subject of hope, and finding myself back at peace again and again, it dawned on me how the two are bound together.  You see, even though Jesus came to us as our Savior and Prince of Peace, the world continues to be a contentious place.  No real peace exists.  Oh sure, there are peaceful people, even a few nations who refuse to get involved in conflict, trying to remain neutral and peaceful in a world that is mad with strife, but real peace is something we only hope for.  As Christians we have the hope that comes from knowing we will one day know full peace.  It gives us comfort and joy to know that all the upheaval we endure here where we live will fade away into blissful peace because of Jesus.

So, from the standpoint of hope and peace, I got to thinking about something I believe is important.  I wrote last week about the debates between Christians and non-Christians about Christmas, its origins, how the day is celebrated, etc. and what I believe we as Christians should do is this:  We should lay aside our own agenda at Christmas time, not worry about any of that squabbling, and be an extension of the peace of Christ.  I challenge myself and I challenge my fellow Christians for the next week to allow ourselves to be an instrument of peace.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. ~Luke 10:5-6

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.~ 1 Peter 1:3-5