SUNDAY: PEACE by Holly Yinger

SCRIPTURE: John 3:16-21

Long ago on a star-filled night, a peace cry rang from the little lungs of a newborn Messiah. Because of God’s deep and unrelenting love for the world, a Son was given so that we might not perish, but have life eternal. And yet, this beautiful gift of a Messiah was hardly an immediate peace that swept throughout the land, because peace is a choice that must be chosen and re-chosen.

John writes in verse 19, “The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” Despite the entrance of peace in the world, we have a tendency of continuing to cling to our darkness, because it is familiar to us. And if we cling to the darkness, we don’t have to see our security and comfortability and life plans for what they truly are. The light of Christ illuminates the unstable foundations of our ‘peace’. It may be wise to plan for future days, but we must hold our plans loosely and remain moldable to the will of God. We must remember that our peace is rooted in the One who holds the future, rather than what we believe the future holds. But we must also remember that peace is so much more than a mere feeling of comfort. Peace is relational. Peace is made because God declared it so. When the angels sang of ‘Peace on earth!’ it was a symphony declaring the restoration of our relationship with God. Our wrongs were being righted by the grace of God in the gift of the Christ child. It’s all grace.

When we receive this peace gift in our own lives, it inevitably ripples out into the world. When we accept this peace, we are declared free from the wars that we wage on ourselves, from the lies that we are not enough, from the endless worry, from the ruthless demands of perfectionism, from the need to earn love from others, from seeking validation from others. The peace that comes from God cures us of our amnesia and we remember who we are.

As this peace ripples out from our transformation and into the world, we begin to live lives of abundance rather than scarcity. Creation loudly declares this abundance of life, if we pause long enough to see and hear it. Number the stars, the grains of sand, the trees on a mountaintop, the blades of grass. God gives us the gift of abundance in creation, to remind us that our God is a God of plenty. No more is it necessary for us to wage trivial wars on others, for our value is not found in them. The abundance of others does not threaten our own. Our
differences are cause for celebration, rather than something to be feared. When we become a people of abundance in this realm of peace, we can become peacemakers. We can extend peace in a world longing for rest from the feuding and for restoration from the brokenness. The gift of peace has already been given, may we prepare our hearts to receive this grace gift today.

God, when we discover our unworthiness for the peace that You give us,
may it make us quick to extend grace and peace to others.
Help us to remember that peace is found when our hearts align with Yours.
Teach us to become lovers of the light.
Today we choose peace.

Josh Kleinfeld