Peace is possible
Our Advent theme of “Peace on Earth”kicked off this morning during our first advent Sunday service. Peace on earth. What wishful thinking. We’d be appalled if we knew the real number of conflicts happening around the globe. What a mess. Everywhere. So how could the angels come declaring to the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14 NIV). The ESV renders it: “and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Clearly the peace that God promises and sends isn’t related to a non-conflict type of peace that is generated by human wisdom and effort. A couple of Scriptures that affirm this that we looked at this morning were
John 14:27- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Phil.4:7- And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What just jumped out at me looking at Luke 2:14 is that it isn’t a peace promised to the globe as a whole. It is promised to those in relationship with Christ. Psalm 29:11 echoes this idea: “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.”
On whom does his favour rest, and with whom is he pleased? We can be in relationship with God but it doesn’t automatically mean we get this peace and favour. We get some insight from Gabriel’s visit to Mary to announce the pregnancy. Who did God choose to carry and mother his Son? Was it a person of importance and great skill living in a strategic metropolis area? No. It was a young virgin living in a backwater village way out of the spotlight of society. And why? What characterized Mary? Our Thursday evening in our “The Christmas Experience” small group we were led to examine this exact theme. In Luke 1 Gabriel calls Mary highly favoured by God. Mary’s reply reveals why God chose her. She replies with great humility. Luke 1:38-“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”. Humility. An inner posture of faith in God and dependance upon God is the key to experiencing God’s favour. He chooses to use those who are open and available. And so if you desire to experience God’s peace in your life this Advent season, know that your receptivity will hinge upon your posture before God. May God grant each of us a humble spirit like Mary’s.