The other morning, my two-year-old daughter climbed up into our bed and proceeded to fall soundly asleep on my arm. In the minutes before my alarm went off, I spent time just gazing at the miracle of life we’d been gifted. Her long eyelashes flickered as she lay there, in the middle of an unremembered dream. At one point, as my arm started to tingle, I moved her off of it and she stretched and rolled and went back soundly to sleep. As our alarm went off and we tried to get up and start getting ready, she slept on through it, peacefully unaware of schedules, work, traffic and other early morning considerations. It took a few efforts to wake her.
There is no peace quite like a child sleeping.
Peace. Evoked by Christmas carols and nativity scenes, the word is often associated with Jesus. The Prince of peace. He who would bring “Peace on earth” (Luke 2:14).
When we think about the word peace, the idea of a world without war comes to mind. The absence of fighting. But that is clearly not our reality and not what arrived in that manger all those years ago.
This year peace is in high demand. Wars, financial pressures, the emotional drain of finding a new normal after the traumatising pandemic. This holiday season is not always associated with peace either, but with scurry, hustle, bustle, financial stress and social exhaustion. So if Jesus brought peace and goodwill to all men, what was He offering?
The peace of the world to come?
As Christians we often look towards the ultimate restoration, the eternal peace we will receive when the world is renewed. But that is not good enough in a world torn apart. If we limit our understanding to that kind of peace, we may wind up disillusioned waiting for that day to come.
The peace the gospel writers spoke of (and the angels sang) was a wholeness. An advent of completeness, the chance at reconciliation. The human image that was marred at the fall, now had a chance to be restored, not just in the world to come, but in the here and now, through the example of Jesus and His restorative power.
Jesus doesn’t offer an absence of resistance, conflict or pain in your life. Wholeness however is something that He can offer. That means you and I have a chance for Jesus to bring restoration and contentment, to bring connection with God and a purpose in our lives, here and now, each and every day.
Jesus offers these things to all who believe in Him. But what about being an Adventist? Well that too can bring a special kind of peace. With the church’s advocacy of whole person health, the absence of addictions such as alcohol and gambling, and hope for the future that doesn’t include eternal torture, the Adventist message is one of peace and wholeness. Yet it too can be hijacked by fear for the future (conspiracy thinking), inadequacy (perfectionism) and over emphasis on one element of belief to the detriment of a complete and balanced perspective.
So as we hopefully all find some peace and enjoyment as 2022 ends and 2023 begins, let us be thankful for the peace and wholeness that is already available in Jesus.
What peace has the Prince of peace brought into your life? What peace do you need Him to give you? Is there something you need to give Him, to give up and let go of? How can we be more like children in our faith and in our lives, embracing contentment, joy and worry-free rest?
This season I wish you and your family peace and comfort. Whatever this year has brought for you, I pray that you have a safe and happy holiday season. Thank you for your support of Adventist Record through the year. Thanks for reading, reacting, responding and sharing throughout the year. We wouldn’t exist without your support so from the team here in our editorial department at Adventist Media, we wish you a happy Christmas. May you find peace and provision as you enter the new year.