“What is peace?” That was one of the questions asked in the video Monday night at Evening in December. It made me think, how would I describe peace? I turned to the dictionary online for an official definition. It said, “cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissention.” Almost, I thought, but there’s something missing in that definition. Then I went for the old-fashioned approach and pulled out my big ol’ Webster’s Dictionary. It said, “freedom of the mind from annoyance or distraction; state or condition characterized by tranquility; silence, stillness.” Those are a bit closer to how I would define peace but there is still more to peace than what these definitions describe.
When I think of peace I think of “the peace that passes all understanding.” I think of the remarkable calm I feel when I have laid my worries at God’s feet and, like an eraser on a chalkboard, God wipes all my anxieties, fears, worries and dis-ease away. And once it’s gone, it never returns. No matter how hard I try to bring those feelings back they really are gone forever. It’s a feeling of freedom and it’s hard to define.
I did a search on the word “peace” in the Bible and found that it occurs 249 times in the NIV Translation of the Bible. I found the word peace in some very familiar scriptures like John 16:32-33 where Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” and in Philippians 4:6 -8 where we are told of the “thepeaceofGod, which transcends all understanding” that “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”. So it seems that peace, the peace of God really, is a state of tranquility and calm where the worries of the world are overcome by a deep, deep assurance of an everlasting love.
But where does peace come from? In that same video, people were asked that question and almost every person who answered that question said, “from within.” I had an uneasy feel as they continued to answer. I kept thinking “that’s not quite it.” While peace is something we feel, it does not originate in us. It wasn’t until the very end that a gentleman truly articulated where peace comes from. He quoted John 14:26-28, “PeaceIleavewithyou;mypeaceIgiveyou.Ido not give toyouas the world gives. Do not letyour hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Peace indeed comes from Christ. In fact Isaiah tells us that the Prince of Peace was born on Christmas Eve: “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, MightyGod, Everlasting Father, PrinceofPeace.” (Isaiah 9:5-7)
So, what I believe is that to have real peace, a peace that passes all understanding, I must first look to and follow Christ. I latch on to the promise that I will find it when I seek it with all my heart. I know that if I focus on finding moments of tranquility where it is just God and me, God will meet me there. If this Christmas, you are like me, and you are searching for peace, I hope you will find it in some still quiet moments with our Lord and Savior. Take some time whether it is in the morning, in the middle of the day or as you lay your head to rest, and slow down enough to consider the gift of Christ. I pray that this Advent Season will be a time when the God of hope fills you with all joy and peace as you trust in him to give you more than you ever could ask or imagine.
Peace be with you!