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Advent Day 9: Bearing Peace

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
    together they shout for joy.
When the Lord returns to Zion,
    they will see it with their own eyes.
Burst into songs of joy together,
    you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
    in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
    the salvation of our God.

~Isaiah 52:7-10

There is no greater honor than being the bearers of good news. There is an easy speed found in the one who races to those waiting, a life and energy in the steps of the bringer of good tidings. Out of breath, but with joyful relief written all over his face, he proclaims the news that all were waiting to hear. There is victory! There is triumph! Peace is ours. No matter how ragged or beat up they have become from the journey, those feet that brought the message are absolutely beautiful.

The Israelites waited for years for a messenger to run towards them with these words of relief, this proclamation of peace. They longed to hear the blessed words “your exile is over, you may return to your homeland. Salvation and rescue from the Babylonians is yours.” Eventually they were led back to their homeland, but the peace was not yet complete. Still they waited, withstood oppression, cried out for ultimate salvation, for eternal peace.

And quietly, meekly their Salvation was born in stable and laid in a  manger, unexpected, unnoticed, in the most unlikely of epiphanies. And those who were waiting and hoping and longing for His coming didn’t even recognize the peace that had come. There was no marveling in the beauty of the feet of the one who brought the good news. Instead the feet were unnoticed, unwashed, and nails were driven through them. The Savior that they had been expecting was utterly missed in their rush, their hurry, their stubborn unwillingness for things to be different than expected.

Woe…to those who say “Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come so we may know it.” ~Isaiah 5:19

God is not in a hurry. God does not promote busyness. God does not promise instant answers, and He certainly will not proceed in ways that we understand or expect. His arrival to earth was quiet. His call is to come quietly. To notice the feet and find beauty in the lowest of things.

We will not recognize the gospel of peace this Christmas if we cannot rest at His feet. We will not experience the fullness of His reign this Advent if we will not slow. The peace we experience this Christmas will be determined by our pace.

If, just for a moment, you stand in the doorway, linger a bit in front of the tree, it’s strange how you can see it – how every Christmas tree is a ladder and Jesus is your ladder who hung on that Tree…so you can have the gift of rest. The work at the very heart of salvation is the work of the very heart of Christmas: simply rest. ~Ann Voskamp

And as we sit, as we take moments in the busyness to let the urgent go and dwell in what is important, He sits down with us. Gently taking our feet in His hands He washes them, purifies them from the dust that has accumulated from a day’s work. And once they are cleansed, He straps on His gospel of peace, that we might run forward as messengers with beautiful feet. But He can’t do this if we will not slow, rest, sit. I can’t be a messenger of peace until I have taken the time to accept the message of peace.

Slow today. Linger. Rest. Let your feet be made beautiful. IMG_1979

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