This Advent week is focused on peace. All of the themes of Advent are challenging, but this one seems to really add an extra bit of difficulty. We do not live in a peaceful world. So much of what we experience is not peaceful. Anxiety, fear, and worry seem to drive our actions all too much of the time. I find myself waking up worrying about all the things that are left undone. How will I get them all accomplished? What can I do to make things better? How will I find the time for all that still needs to be done on top of what I have for today? These thoughts awaken me from my sleep and I find anything but peace overtaking my heart and mind. So to consider peace, to think of how peace may be a part of my life, seems a far reach from my reality.
Here’s the thing…peace is actually closer than I could imagine. Peace is so close yet I leave it untouched because I am looking for it beyond where it can actually be found. I will not find peace in things or activities or people or places. I will not find peace in catching up or doing something else. I will not find peace in routine or control. I find peace when I look within.
Jesus teaches his disciples that he will be leaving them physically. This had to be a shock. This had to rattle them more than a little. How would they get everything done? How would they know where to go next? What would it look like to go places and do things without their leader? And I could imagine if I was one of them, my anxiety would be through the roof. How could you leave us in such a time as this? Do you not know what is going on? Do you not know how much I need you? My mind goes on and on in a loop I am sure would play if I had been at Jesus’ feet that day. I know because my mind goes on a similar loop now.
Jesus tells them not to worry (yeah right – as if this is possible). He gives them a reason not to worry, though. He tells them that he offers peace. This peace will not be found in people or places or things. This peace will not be dependent on anything external. This peace is a gift from God. It isn’t something they need to understand. It isn’t something they need to find. All they need to do is search within. They have all they need with them all the time. Jesus is the peace they search. And we are given the Holy Spirit – living in us – to provide us with this Jesus peace.
So we can stop searching. It can’t be found in any of the places we are looking anyway. We simply need to look within. He is there – and that is all the peace we could ever need. Peace Be With You.
25 “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I. 29 And now I have told you this before it occurs, so that when it does occur, you may believe.
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