When I started posting Advent Thoughts on my Face Book Page Grace Notes Thoughts and Prayers, this week, I didn’t fully understand how sitting with these beautiful advent words would affect my own preparations for Christmas.

The ancient prophet Jeremiah said “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and delight.” (15:16)  When we sit with a word, or phrase, it can become alive, it can be like spiritual food!  And if you are not on Face Book, and want the daily thoughts on advent, let me know, I’ll try to find a way to send them to you.

I’ve thought a lot about hope this week, how it turns our hearts toward eternity, how it strengthens our faith in things unseen, how a seed of hope can be planted in the darkest of places.

And now we turn to Peace, in this second week of Advent.

To be truthful, this word has troubled me this last week.  We use this word almost flippantly, and we see it often this time of year, on our Christmas Cards, on our decorations, in our media feed.

And in truth, we long for it.

But we know, in the images we see, and the news reports we read, that we are far from peace in this troubled world.  We still are shaken with the terrorism in Paris, and this week in California.  And often what doesn’t even make the news are the atrocities in Nigeria, and Beirut and other countries, where violence almost seems a way of life.

The fact is, we become afraid.  We become protective.  And sometimes I am conflicted, because even as we so recently took solemn silence to remember our soldiers on Remembrance Day, and are so grateful for their sacrifice and for our freedom, the fact of the matter is that I absolutely HATE war.

In truth, I am at heart a pacifist, and I come by it honestly, with my Mennonite Heritage.  But I have always despised hurting another, and have a hard time even comprehending what would cause human beings to destroy other human beings.

When I was a young mother, I hated guns so much I banned my children from playing with them.  But kids are creative and before I knew it the Lego blocks became guns and the childhood games had begun.

Is there violence in our hearts?

When I look, deep inside, I see those tendencies to self-preserve, to protect.  I can become jealous or angry, or even rude.

So peace becomes a choice, a way of life.  As that beautiful song says “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me”.

I love the greeting “Peace to You”, I like it far better than “How are You?, but it seems awkward and archaic.  Perhaps I’ll work on that this week.

As we enter this Advent week of Peace, it is my prayer.  May Peace reign in our hearts.   Peace to you, my friend.

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