The Advent of Peace
Advent of Peace
Grace and peace to you, the much-promised gift of God our Father, delivered in Christ-incarnate!
Do not fear, do not be anxious!
But How.. and when?
As I hear Longfellow’s poem set to music, (the sermon hymn was “I heard the bells on Christmas Day” – it is an incredible story- !) and the change that comes over him, as if a light is simply turned on, I want to find a way to dismiss his suffering, to dismiss his grief, and thereby, to stay in my own grief, my own negativity, my own despair, my own anxiety. The problem is I know the background of Longfellow’s poem, and my trauma, even and the trauma of our world is not comparable to his trauma, and the trauma of his time.
There is something in this time of year as well, as I talk to businessmen, and principals, other pastors and those who I come in contact with, there is a sense of pessimism, in this time where we should be eagerly expecting some of the greatest joy of the year. People are struggling – many of us are struggling…
I hear in the song, the words of the angels who visit the outcasts in the field ,
Do not fear! There is peace on Earth, and God’s will, His desire for men is good…good!
And my theologian brain comes into play and I justify my dweeling in the early part of the song with theological statements like this promise of peace is now..and not yet. It is fulfilled and yet I can’t really see it.
And I, with supposed justification slink back into despair, and bow my head in defeat.
And then comes Advent… and we have to come face to face with the promise, and we have to realize – that yes, this promise is true, as is the God who delivered that promise to a stable in Bethlehem 2000 years ago.
But how do we make the change – from despair to joy, from thinking there is no peace, to glorying in it?
That is the challenge of Advent.
Look to His creation!
Look to the simple glory and know… the glory of Christ
And in the place where Christ is, glory and peace dwells
And that is in you.
In the words of the prophet Haggai, as his words, like the angels encourage us, I think I begin to see how to find the peace.
First the prophet reminds us of two of God’s promises by calling to mind His oath and covenant with us. That covenant was made when He delivered his people from bondage one, and assured them that He would always do so.. The second promise is there – next slide – when the Father promised, even back then, that the Holy Spirit would remain in the midst of His people – that God’s presence was there, even then, caring and comforting, forgiving and guiding, pouring out and establishing His peace..
There begins the source of our strength!
Less we doubt God being able to provide this care, this peace, the prophet is instructed to remind us of the incredible power of God – that He can, and indeed will shake the world, to separate and sift it, separating what is the treasure – what is the glory of those nations, that it may come pouring in.
God claims it is all His, that it all belongs to Him, that the glory of it will cause the glory of God’s abode to be greater than it ever was…
And then we realize, the gold and silver symbolize something, for while that may be where man’s treasure is, it is not where God’s is.
What is God’s treasures, that will out of the nations…
You and I are…
And when we realize that – the lights turn on… and we hear the glorious words, and we know that in this place, where we dwell with God, there is peace.
That’s the concept of advent – come and seen this newborn king – Come and adore Him,
Come and realize His promises are true – that He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lord.
Come, and leave the fears and anxieties behind – His spirit is present, His peace is present.
and as we look at our Lord, as we see the manger and the cross, and the empty tomb….
The light shatters the darkness, the love heals our brokenness, and we know, heart, soul mind and strength… that there is peace on earth, that there is God’s will coming complete in our lives…
Come and see – His peace is here… His Good will is here… and it is well…
Posted on December 6, 2012, in Sermons and tagged Advent, anxiety, christianity, fear, Haggai, healing, life, pain, peace, peace on earth, presence of god, spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.