Peace this Advent Season
Wesley and Molly Jordan
Wesley is writing from Kyiv, Ukraine where he is working for Vision Fund/World Vision.
During this week of Advent, we take time to reflect on the peace that Jesus brings. But how do we talk about peace at a time like this? For three mornings during the past week in Kyiv, I've been awakened by the sound of missile explosions (no casualties in Kyiv). Yes, the war on Ukraine is still happening. Meanwhile, we are seeing daily news about the conflict in Israel and Gaza.
Naturally we desire world peace and political harmony across the globe. Despite man’s best efforts, long-term world peace is impossible due to human brokenness. Instead, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) offers us a different peace plan. A peace through His life, death and resurrection which restores us into wholeness in our relationship with God our creator. This is true shalom and real peace.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Fears and anxieties are a real threat to peace. In the birth story of Jesus, angels appeared to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds and encouraged them not to fear. Each of them had very human fears – rejection, society’s judgement, and the fear of God. Our Lord is not surprised by our fears or anxieties but offers help. Isn’t that reassuring?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Current global and national news can lead to troubled thoughts and feelings, as individuals and as a community. Jesus promises to help us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Do you have fears and anxieties? Are you willing to ask God for the peace that He gives? Have you ever experienced an outpouring of His peace?
This Advent as we work out what it means for Jesus to be our peace let us cling to Jesus’ call to shalom and wholeness in Him. He is calling us to a living gospel wherever we are: Durham, Chapel Hill, Europe, Asia, Middle East, Ukraine or elsewhere. We seek peace by seeking continued reconciliation in our personal relationship with God and in our community. We can ask our Father for peace especially in times of fear or anxiety, through the hurried pace of the Christmas season and as we intercede for friends and those affected by difficulties. Because of God’s grace to us we are simultaneously imperfect and anxious people in need of shalom and agents of restoration where we are. He is calling us to be shalom-makers.
Prayer: Blessed Lord by your grace help me to be restored fully in my relationship with you. Give me your peace so that I may be a peacemaker. God grant peace to those in my community and around the world that are anxious or fearful and give them shalom.