We are very excited about today’s guest blogger! Adam Mearse is a minister at the Naperville Church of Christ, working on his PhD in Education from Trinity International, fellow blogger, Christmas fanatic and Pez collector. But beyond all that, he is and his family are some of the Cox’s closest friends. Adam has been a friend, mentor, minister, wedding performer, and a brother to Trevor, so it is truly an honor to have him reflecting on peace for us today!
You’re busy, right? Me too. I won’t recite the list of all the stuff I have going on as though my busy is somehow more impressive than your busy…we all get it. We suffer from the same affliction. Somehow with industrialization of the western world and the corresponding rise in affluence, the open access we have to advance our education, enhance our lives, and secure our futures, and the mind-blowing technological breakthroughs of last 20 years – all of which were supposed to make life easier for us – we find ourselves in an unrelenting torrent of busy. I was recently asked to consider the last time I felt truly relaxed. So, I thought. And thought. I heard crickets chirping somewhere in my subconscious, not because crickets relax me, but because I had no answer at all. I still don’t, actually.
Can you relate?
When I attend to the busyness in my life I hear echoes of a much deeper fracturing within me. Like ice spider-webbing across a pond as it prepares to give way, I hear my heart cracking and popping and I know that something sacred within me is being torn apart in the midst of my schedule-keeping and task-completing.
Then, along comes Advent. Like those enormous spotlights used for movie premieres and bat-signals, Advent floods my inner world with inescapable light and I see the truth of my busyness – that it segments my heart, pulling it in a thousand different directions. But Advent doesn’t just offer light for the soul, it offers healing as well.
After hundreds of years of prophetic silence and thousands of years of messianic foreshadowing, Luke recounts the story of shepherds in the fields outside of Jerusalem who suddenly find themselves in the presence of an angel from heaven. This holy messenger declares that the long-awaited Messiah has finally arrived in the form of a baby in Bethlehem. Before they could even start to wrap their minds around what this one holy messenger was telling them, the skies part and thousands more angels appear on the scene declaring “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
This is a two-part message for the waiting world. It starts where everything always starts – with God being glorified. What follows is just one of the limitless gifts of Advent…peace. This word is the Greek counterpart to the Hebrew, shalom. It is packed with more meaning and beauty than any single English word can hold, but at its very root the idea of joining together. In other words, peace is not just a shorter to-do list or that moment when the children finally fall asleep at night. The peace that the angels proclaim is a healing balm for the fractured heart.
The heart broken over lost loved ones.
The heart weighed down with sin.
The heart drowning in a sea of busy.
Technology, social progress, or even an extra couple hours in the day could never bring true peace. Finishing a degree, paying off a mortgage, or landing a better job won’t do it. More stuff, different stuff, or someone else’s stuff isn’t the answer.
This healing peace is universal, free, and constant. It’s available to every man, woman and child on the planet.
Peace that fills the soul and heals the heart is the gift of God – announced by angels and witnessed by shepherds. It is the very presence of Jesus, who entered the world as a baby in a manger and set into motion God’s healing ministry of peace.
As we move deeper into the season of Advent, may we drink deeply of the peace of the Messiah and may our hearts be healed and restored in the abiding presence of our Savior.
Glory to God in the highest heaven!