“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. They will dwell secure, because he will surely become great throughout the earth; he will become one of peace.” Micah 5:4-5a CEB
A few months ago, I left work a little early, because I had a night meeting, and went home. It was a beautiful day with no clouds in the sky, a perfect temperature, and a nice breeze blowing. When I got home I decided to hang my daughter’s hammock and rest. The sky was crystal blue and the breeze was just enough to be a pleasant reminder of its presence. The hammock was swaying back and forth, the rhythm was relaxing and restful. It was a perfect break from a busy week, full day, and hectic schedule. The best part of this time in my backyard oasis was the quiet. There were no interruptions. The only sounds were birds singing, squirrels chasing each other, my dogs walking around their yard, and the breeze in the trees. It was peaceful. It was wonderful. It was just what I needed.
I believe this is what we all need in our lives. We need moments of peace and quiet. These moments settle our souls and rejuvenate our spirit. The quiet moments of peace in our life remind us to listen to God’s voice and to connect with Jesus. The hectic pace, the busy schedules, the noise of everyday life can be deafening. We can allow the noise of our life to drown out and desensitize us to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Times of silence are crucial to learning how to hear the Holy Spirit. How are you doing at having moments of silence? Are you experiencing quiet and peace?
I believe this is part of why Jesus came to earth. I believe the primary reason Jesus came to earth was to seek and to save that which is lost. I also believe Jesus was born in Bethlehem and walked this earth to model for us what it meant to follow God completely. One of the things Jesus modeled was peace. Jesus experienced the quiet peace of being alone in prayer and silence. Jesus would minister, heal, teach, raise the dead, challenge the religious institution of the day, AND withdraw for times of silence and peace. We often think of Jesus giving peace as in John 14:27, “Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” Jesus certainly gives us peace through our abiding relationship with him. Jesus gives peace and modeled peace through his actions.
This Advent and Christmas season perhaps the one of peace will serve as a model for all of us to take time for quiet peace in our life. Set aside a few moments every day for quiet. Yes, I know many of you think this is impossible—I assure you it is not. Be at peace—both following Jesus’ example and because of Jesus’ presence. Because of the strength we have in Jesus [Philippians 4:13], the presence of the Holy Spirit [John 14:26], we are able to experience times of true peace. I believe we should all make sure we are intentionally setting aside time for these moments.
In the years before Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem people longed for peace. The type of peace that is the absence of war, conflict, or oppression. People across the globe today long for this type of peace. I believe this peace will come one day. I also believe that this peace begins with all the followers of Jesus cultivating a heart of peace following the example of Christ. Jesus came to offer the world salvation from sin and death and to institute God’s peaceable kingdom on earth. The world has been different ever since the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Those who follow Jesus know that their life is different since accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This Christmas is your heart at peace? Are you following the example of the One of Peace?
May God grant you moments of peace and quiet in the midst of this busy, hectic, and chaotic season. I pray that we all have moments of Holy encounters with the One of Peace.
This weekend at all four worship services we continue the Advent message series Prepare the Way. Micah says the one who is coming will become one of peace. This weekend we will discuss how Jesus is the One of Peace. We will also enjoy a beautiful Christmas Cantata in our 8:15 and 11:15 services. Monday is Christmas Eve and I encourage you to invite a friend or two to one of our four Christmas Eve services: 4:30 p.m. Family Service, 6:30 p.m. Contemporary Service, 8:30 p.m. Traditional Service with Choir and Orchestra, and 11:00 p.m. Traditional Service with Communion, Choir, and Handbells. I hope you will join us this weekend and Christmas Eve. The best is yet to come for St. Andrew’s as we are on mission together. I can’t wait to see you in church!