And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
Dear Oak Grove Friends,
We have entered “the busy season,” a time when we find ourselves rushing around shopping, cooking large meals, and attending social events. The church calendar is chock full of extra activities and special services. One of my friends recently posted on facebook, “Sometimes when I look at my calendar, I have to breathe into a paper bag.” It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of it all.
On top of all the activity, or perhaps lying just under the surface, many in our midst are quietly struggling with personal trials and grief. We put on a happy face, or at least an “okay” face and go about our days while worried, and hurting on the inside.
As I consider the message the angel delivered to the shepherds, “Peace on Earth,” I wonder where we might find that peace during the Advent season of preparation. As I type this letter, the words to the song, Let There Be Peace on Earth run through my head, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” I usually sing that song thinking I need to be the peacemaker, but I think perhaps this season, I will focus on experiencing God’s peace - on being peaceful.
The second scripture above seems to serve as a book end to the announcement of peace at the beginning of Jesus’ life. The verse from John is part of Jesus’ farewell discourse to his disciples as he neared the end of his earthly life. “My peace I give you” Just the sound of that is enough to drop my shoulders and my blood pressure a few notches. For me, some of the most powerful words in our liturgy are “Peace be with you.” When someone says those words to me, I feel God’s peace pour over me like warm syrup, oozing down from my head to my toes.
It is my genuine desire, that not only I, but all of you experience God’s peace during the coming weeks. I believe I am being called to pray God’s peace for each you and your households. So, please know that through this holiday season, I will earnestly and diligently be praying God’s peace upon each of you. If you have specific concerns in your life that you would like me to include in my prayers for peace, feel free to email me or drop a note in my mailbox so I will have a reminder.
Perhaps you will also join me in “Passing the Peace,” not at a specific time in our service but simply offering a brief “Peace be with you,” as we cross paths in our busy season, or in a text or an email. I’ll begin.
Peace be with you,