Advent Reflection: Wrapped In Peace
To give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. - Luke 1:77-79
This year, perhaps more than ever before, we can collectively identify with the longing and searching found in the Christmas message. As you reflect on your own story this year, are you able to quickly recall a time when you cried out for light in the darkness, for peace in the unknown?
If you are anything like me, perhaps you often confuse receiving peace with receiving answers. Maybe you confuse the presence of peace with the absence of heavy circumstances. There are times I cry out for light in the darkness, but what I truly desire is an explanation of the problem or an expedition of the process.
What then is true peace? What is light in the darkness? At the birth of Jesus, the angels proclaimed "Peace on Earth" because peace had come to Earth as a person - and his name was Jesus. The glory of the Lord shone because Jesus - the light of the world, the true light - was here to shine into the darkness of sin.
Jesus came as peace, and he then left peace behind with us in the Holy Spirit. "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." Ultimately, he made peace for us through his death on the cross. Peace is not an idea or a simple feeling for which we search aimlessly; peace is a person. And because this person wrapped himself in our sin on the cross, he has justified us by faith, and we have peace (present tense) with God.
The calling spoken over John the Baptist in Luke 1:76-79 is ours to own as well as it was his. But to venture into the world "to give knowledge of salvation and to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death" undoubtedly feels like a daunting task. However, we can step boldly into the unknown because Jesus in us is the peace the world craves. We can step boldly into the darkness because Jesus in us is the light that saves. We already have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and he will continue "to guide our feet into the way of peace" and will then enable us to guide others into the way of peace.
Jesus stepped into the darkness, knowing what it held. It held us in bondage. It held death on the cross for Him. But in he walked, and he dropped peace all over it. He gave himself - peace - so that we could have peace with God forever and peace in our hearts in the present. This Christmas season, as we remember how Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and frail humanity, may we know more deeply and confidently that we are wrapped up in peace.