Tomlin's 'Glory in the Highest' blaring, Christmas Tree lights twinkling, Pennsylvania Dutch Eggnog on hand - I am beginning to unwind for a quick Christmas break after a breathtaking year. To be honest, at times it has been like a blow to the solar plexis, at others it has been like a mountaineer gulping for air at high altitude, and still others it has been like children gasping in wide -eyed wonder at God's glory and goodness. Breathtaking, all the same.
I have one more message to preach before we take a week to drive up to Seattle to visit some dear friends. It's for our Christmas Eve service. The theme is 'Be still and know.' Peace is certainly one of God's gifts to us in Christ at Christmas. "For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given... He shall be called the Prince of Peace...of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end."
I don't think that the absence of conflict is the peace that God offers though. He does not offer us Utopia, Zen or Suburban Bliss. The gospel is not like one of those Snow Globes, where a perfect world is preserved inside a perspex bubble, and shaking only produces snowflakes.
"In this world you will have trouble, but take courage I have overcome the world." God gives us the gift of Peace through the Incarnation. Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, sharing in our flesh, and in our shaking worlds. With us in our trouble, anxiety and sorrow. He offers us the peace of friendship with a perfect King, and the taste of an eternal Kingdom that is increasing no end.
May His peace cause you to gasp in wonder, and breathe a deep sigh of relief, all at the same time.