Advent: On Earth Peace

There are many names for God in the Bible and Judeo-Christian Traditions including- Yahweh, Father, Counselor, Jehovah, Deliverer, Provider. One of my favorite names for God is Yahweh Shalom, “The LORD is Peace”, as Gideon calls God in Judges 6:24 when he dedicates an altar to God. God has also been called Oseh Shalom, “Maker of Peace”. Another favorite name for God is Emmanuel– God with us- from Joseph’s vision in Matthew 1:23, quoting Isaiah 7:14. One way God is peace and makes peace on Earth is by being with us.

 

The world hardly seems peaceful when I read headlines and newsfeeds full of bombs and hate. I don’t always feel God with me in rush hour traffic or during periods of personal darkness. Emmanuel- God with us. Always.

 

Knowing that God is always with us, with me, is not always a peaceful thought. God is present during moments of sin and piety, crisis and joy, pain and delight. Ecclesiastes 3 says that there is a time and season for everything. Life happens. When we find a season that we like, we try to exist in a Narnia-like world, where there is one season all of the time. In The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, it is always winter, but never Christmas. No season is forever- whether enjoyable or painful. One way to have peace is to consider God’s presence in every season. Emmanuel- God with us. Always.

 

There is mystery in God’s presence- then, today, and in the future. The mystery of the birth, the mystery of God, the mystery of peace. With so much mystery, God reminds us of the truest reality that what we see and experience now is real, but the continuing and one day final redemption is also real. This is peace- there is more than what I know. Emmanuel- God with us. Always.

 

God is peace, making peace, and always with us.

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