We like watching scenic pictures on our TV, created for ambiance. TV has come a long way since the fireplace app, blazing away to create a cozy feel, without any fire at all. All that was missing was the heat.
Now there are cozy cottages, inviting coffee shops, with autumn leaves whirling down, or this time of year, everything is covered in a peaceful blanket of snow.
My hubby often says, I’d like to live there. To look out on that scene, a lovely dock on a perfect lake, with a cup of warm tea steaming away, and a cat sleeping in the corner. Idyllic. Peaceful.
But life is not like that. There are the noisy neighbours, the coffee gets cold, the bills have to be paid.
Sometimes I think we long for peace in those idyllic terms. I painted a picture like that, it looked peaceful to me. We picture the perfect Christmas, the family that gets along, a world without calamity and war.
We long for that. But as I visit the very sick, the profoundly depressed, those whose lives have been rocked by tragedy, it does not feel peaceful,
I’ve come to see peace as an inner quality, a knowing that I am loved, no matter what. I have learned to live by those words that Jesus declared, “In this world you will have trouble, but I have overcome the world.”
And on days where I am feeling overwhelmed, pressed down and challenged, I know I can go to that Source of peace. How often I’ve prayed that prayer, that we would know the peace that passes all understanding.
And we can’t fathom the miracle, the gift of peace that transcends our world and gives us eternal hope. Julian of Norwich said, “All will be well.” As I studied her story (she lived in the 14th century, lost many of her family members to the Black Plague and nearly died herself.) And yet her suffering drew her to a deep abiding love in God, and a knowing that no matter what, all would be well. That is peace, borne out of trust.
So even as we declare “Peace on Earth”, I want to declare, may there be peace in my heart. That is the kind of peace we can offer one another, a lasting and enduring peace that dwells within. May that kind of peace be yours in this Advent season.