Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Second Week in Advent - Peace

Most of us need peace in our lives. It doesn't really matter what age or time of life you are in, we all could use a little more peace. We need respite from the frantic pace of life with young children, or the constant battling with our tweens and teens. We need a break from financial worries, job stress, the pressure to fit into the mold, the constant buzz in the back of our minds that something else has to be accomplished before we can rest.

We need some peace and we often have no idea how to get it. In Hebrew the word for peace is shalom and it means to be in a state that is free of disturbance - both inward disturbance (like anxiety or fear) and outward disturbance (like war).

I often think that the amount of peace someone has is in direct correlation to their ability to let things go. In other words, the more you feel responsible for the lives of everyone around you, the less peace you will have. Conversely, the more you can separate yourself from the failures and successes of the people in your life and hold your own successes and failures lightly, the more peace you will have.

I had an epiphany earlier this year when a friend of mine commented to me that "neither of us were the kind of people to hold things lightly." It was so simple but it was like I was hit by a lightening bolt. I immediately thought - "Oh yeah - that is my problem." I never feel at peace because I never let anything just be what it is. I always have to try to change it or make it better or worry about it. I never just let things 'be'.

That is not to say that we are never supposed to work towards goals, or help our family and friends. We are supposed to do those things. But we are also supposed to hold all things in this life loosely because they are not ours. They are God's. Our children and their mistakes (and our mistakes in parenting them), we can give to God. Our job stress, financial worries, marital troubles - all these things we can give to God because he is big enough to handle them.

Maybe even in the simple act of letting some control go, we will find a better and easier ways to get where we want to go. We will at least be able to have a better view of what is important and what is not.

Jesus came to give us peace - not peace that the world gives to us, but the peace of God which we cannot get any other way.

As we prepare to approach the new born Christ who brings peace to the world, maybe we should think about ways in which we will allow ourselves to accept that gift of Peace.


"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27