Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Peace on Earth

So far, this holiday season has been quiet. Sure, we decorated the gingerbread house, we're reading through the Christmas story with the kids, the lights are lit and the candy canes are slowly and not so mysteriously disappearing...

but being in a new city, we don't have the five hundred Christmas parties and ongoing festive activities we're used to back home. I'm not at work so I'm not overwhelmed with corrections and report cards and the acting out of kids dreading two weeks without the normalcy of school. Even the weather has been calm up till this last week. 

It's Advent and it's been quiet. 

I haven't had a lot of words to speak or even to tack onto the conversations floating around the community of cyberspace. 

Thanks to my toddlers, I tend to think of 'quiet' as synonymous with 'peace'. The expression "peace and quiet" must have been coined by a mom.

Despite all the calm and the good, for me this Christmas season, it's quiet but it's not peace. It's more like a backing off, a withdrawing, a checking out. 

I don't know if it was the election in the U.S. or the state of refugees around the world or the rickety washing machine or the non-napping kids, but enormous or teensy, it's just insurmountable.  I'd been asking, "Why, God? How, God? What now, God?" and then I just sort of stopped asking. Stopped taking it in. Stopped paying attention. Stopped caring. Just stopped.

I read a statement earlier this month in Breaking Free by Beth Moore and it's haunted me ever since. Here it is:

Peace is submission to a trustworthy authority, 
not resignation from activity. 

Sometimes, I tend to see a sort of unwavering calm as the ultimate goal of life or Christianity. When I respond perfectly to my kids, I'll have made it. When I don't snap at my husband, I'll be there. When I see the purpose and reason behind each twist and turn in life, it'll make sense. When my road rage miraculously disappears... Okay, I may never arrive.

Serenity now.
In some cases I am sure that peace equals calm acceptance but I think lasting peace must be fixed assurance, more of an anchor in churning waves than a glassy stagnant pool. Instead of checking out, peace spreads when I actively check in with the only One who remains unchanging.  

I read the promises of a God who says that when I pass through the waters, He will be with me. 

I see movement. I see guaranteed struggle-- There are waters, but my job is to pass through them. 

I also see a constant -- a promise of presence that will not fail.   

Whether I am hurting, dissatisfied or horrified, I am to be in those waters. To be fully involved with Jesus and His truth and grace so that I have the strength to be present: in my own head, with the people around me and where God nudges softly outside of my comfort zone, locally, globally.

I've been quiet, but peace isn't the absence of noise; it's a fixed certainty within the unknown.  

I've been still, but peace isn't resignation from activity; it's submission to the most trustworthy authority.

Tonight I'm repenting of hiding behind the quiet and for the first time this season, I can say I'm moving forward in His peace.

I thought about including a list of the unrest (internal and external) that God has put on my heart but I know that He puts something different on each of our hearts
Can I just encourage you to ask Him to unsettle you and then in that to help you find real peace as you spend some time each day this month in His word?

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