peace, peace

Monday, December 12, 2011


A week ago yesterday, we lit the Advent candle for peace, which kicked off a week when I felt very little peace at all. A week where I came face to face with my own pride in a way that I didn’t realize was still (or ever) there. A week where I spent much time in anger and pain on behalf of some dear friends who are in the middle of a terribly emotional and painful battle. A week where I was overwhelmed with the pain and suffering that living in this broken world brings. The irony of the entire week was that even though I didn’t feel peace in many ways at all; if my life wasn’t grounded in the ‘peace that comes from the good news’ (Ephesians 6:15), I wouldn’t have been able to deal with any of that in any productive sort of way.

Sometimes, especially at Christmastime, we make peace all about white doves, musical angels, and happy children of many races. Often, however, peace is hard won in the midst of a battle. Peace can be violent, painful; many times, peace is about justice. It’s about so much more than ‘sleeping in heavenly peace’.

For many of us, we understand peace to be the absence of conflict. We talk about peace in the home or in the world or giving peace a chance. But the Hebraic understanding of shalom is far more than just the absence of conflict or strife.

Shalom is the presence of the goodness of God. It's the presence of wholeness, completeness.

So when Jesus tells the woman [
Luke 8] to go in peace, he is placing the blessing of God on all of her. Not just her physical body. He is blessing her with God's presence on her entire being. And this is because for Jesus, salvation is holistic in nature. For Jesus, being saved or reconciled to God involves far more than just the saving of your physical body or your soul - it involves all of you.
from Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

This past week, peace was just about the sure knowledge that my foundation is secure even when I don’t feel it. Peace is my whole life put right even when the world seems wrong. Peace is knowing Jesus.

Counting through the weeks of Advent…
529. answers to long-prayed prayers
530. eye prescription holding steady, four years running
531. a long overdue first visit to my sister's new apartment
532. hair clips on cat legs
533. busy nights with huge trees and good sales
534. building memories with extended family
535. the sweetest, bossiest two-year-old, her first birthday as our daughter
536. the most entertaining bridal shower I've ever been to
537. feet grounded in the gospel of peace
538. shelter from the everlasting, unending pouring rain
539. a sweet, understanding husband
540. friends to share small tragedies with
541. a God who forgives me my foolish pride
542. family to share burdens with, to encourage and pray for
543. happy children with sticky hot chocolate, candy cane, and pine needle scented fingers
544. the smell of a burning Scotch pine
545. return customers
546. more answered prayers and happy sisters
547. monkey cupcakes
548. bestest cousin friends
549. thankful gift-receiving
550. getting to be a part of seeing someone grow to spiritual maturity
551. father-daughter movie dates

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