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Advent: Peace

"Yesterday, Today, Forever" by Matt Whitney

“And His name will be called… Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

On Christmas Eve, when I was young, I would attend my grandparent’s (on my dad’s side) church, Peace Lutheran in West Seattle, for the candlelight service, dressed in my Christmas best. During the greeting time, parishoners would “pass the peace” to one another; in which my Uncle Jeff, in his faded blue jeans, would attempt to be cool by flashing two fingers and saying, “peace” in a low voice. I always wanted to sit near my grandpa during the service, to listen to his voice, which was so deep you could feel it when he sang the hymns and carols. His tone was stable and reassuring.

Toward the end of the evening, as it neared midnight, we would light our candles and sing “Silent Night”. My cousins and I would be carefully watched by the adults, because of the temptation to play with the flame which would gently flicker in our hands as we sang a capella. A sense of God’s peace would fill the church during those final moments of the service. Afterward, we would silently file out of the sanctuary, eat cookies in the narthex and walk quietly back to our cars, always eager to help blow out the luminaries which lined the walkway. When we returned to my grandparent’s house, I would wait for my mom and step-dad to pick me up. The sense of peace, I just experienced during the service would come to a sudden, abrupt halt when my mom arrived; as the awkward transition would ensue from one parent’s custody to another. Unfortunately, these awkward transitions still seem to play out in my adult life during this time of year. The hustle and bustle of Christmas comes—we prepare meals, cash in vacation hours, spend time with family. Peace feels overshadowed by the busyness, is fleeting and then packed away carefully like the many ornaments that adorn the tree.

This Advent season, as we consider the Prince of Peace, can we fathom and marvel the depth of the peace offered by Jesus? Not a peace limited to candlelit services; but, a peace that goes home with you, comforts the broken hearts, the sinner and resides our very being. Can I invite Him to reign in January, as much as He reigns December 25th? Can we find Jesus in our daily lives? In work routines, family, challenges, and monotonous tasks? When I face crises, who is the ruling prince in my life? Is it the Prince of Chaos? The Prince of Independence? The Prince of Self-Reliance? The Prince of Denial? Being a part of God’s kingdom means submitting to the King, who desires to bear fruit through his Spirit, and rule as the true Prince of Peace.

May the King’s Peace rest with you during this season and beyond.

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you...” John 14:27

-Dawn Zern

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