“For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
Says the Lord who has compassion on you. ~Isaiah 54:9-10
A second candle is lit today, the candle signifying peace. In the stillness of the dark two small lights flicker shadows on the wall. One singing out bright hope for those in need, one casting a peace on those who will follow Christ.
It’s hard to get away from the theme of peace during the Christmas season. Nearly every Christmas song, sung in church or played in the grocery store, mention peace. Holiday decorations are lined with the word peace on them, from ornaments to floor mats. And if you want to seem mature and considerate, how about asking Santa for world peace on your “grown up Christmas list”.
We all want it. Desperately. This elusive thing called peace. The end to all wars. The ceasing of dissension. Relief from turmoil. And every year that we reach the end of Christmas and guns are still fired and words of hate are still shouted we wonder, did the angels really sing out the good news of peace on earth? Were they mistaken? Are we foolish for hoping for it? Surely there is no peace here, not while this madness, this violence, rages on.
The Jewish people surely thought the same thing in their time. Here is this man, the one that claims to be the Messiah. And yet why are we still in upheaval and unrest? Why is there still oppression and violence? Why must we watch the desecration of our home? He can’t be the Prince of Peace if this is the state of things. His claims to leave peace with us are proving to be absolutely useless.
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.-John 14:27
Look again. Do you see the caveat he puts there in the middle of this often partially quoted verse? Not as the world gives do I give to you.
The flickering candle of peace speaks of a different kind of peace. An otherworldly peace. The peace of heaven did come, just as the angels proclaimed. But as the pattern of God seem to be, it is not as expected. Peace that guards hearts, rather than simply guarding bodies. Peace that may not grant relief from turmoil but rather offers the presence of God in the midst of it. Peace that quiets and steadies the restless souls, regardless of the external circumstances. Peace that is more than ceasefire, peace that transcends understanding.