The car in front was a nondescript, dark suburban people carrier. A flip down screen in the center would light up and darken periodically and as I came closer, I became aware of a small hand sliding into frame and then back out as they fidgeted with the device. I assumed cartoons. We came to the first stop sign in the swirling, frozen fog and the screen suddenly came into focus. Not cartoons. Just one word in bold relief. Advent.
Waiting. Waiting on God. Waiting on the Messiah. All of creation held spellbound in anticipation and wonder.
The second week of advent came sharply into focus with that single word on a minivan monitor this morning. Peace. In preparation for Christ we focus on His peace. The Peace he brought and the Peace that is still yet to come when all things will be revealed and made new. As rehearsed as it may sound, to know Christ is to know peace. A peace that supersedes our station, situation or prospects.
We were promised this in John 14.
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
The context of this promise is the darkest time in the lives of the disciples. Christ is telling them He is about to suffer and die. He is essentially delivering a farewell address to a group of men who, at least in part, believed he was about to establish a permanent earthly kingdom and they were to be some of the top brass in this new kingdom. The term devastation just doesn’t encapsulate the emotions they were about to experience. It was promised, but it wasn’t realized. They were waiting.
Dark days of questions passed. Uncertainty of personal safety and hiding in dark corners and closets came and still they waited. Christ came and visited them after His resurrection and reassured them, gave them context, and still they waited. They hung on and the peace came at last. These men experienced the promised Holy Spirit and His peace and they became the force that changed the course of history.
We do not live in a world of peace. This morning marks 81 years since a horrific declaration of war at Pearl Harbor. Thousands of lives lost tragically in a global conflict. A generation that fought and died waiting. Waiting on peace.
On Sunday, my pastor, Keith Waggoner, said something that really stood out to me. “The people of God have always been a waiting people.” We are a finite people waiting on the voice of an infinite God. A God whose timelines often do not make sense to us because we see only a fraction of what is to come. But we wait, knowing that peace is just around the corner.
When my beloved aunt, Carmen, passed away, she had requested something done at her funeral that I had not seen before. We were all given forks and then one of the speakers gave a reading about how at dinner, you were always told to hang on to your fork and wait for the dessert, because the best was still to come. Aunt Carmen wanted us to remember that we wait for better things. We wait for peace to come. Perfect peace.
The holidays can be a dark, lonely, and emotionally claustrophobic time for many people. A time when loss seems to supersede any joy or peace of the season. Whatever dark days you are facing. Whatever difficulties you face, remember that a few thousand years ago, a young shepherd became a warrior, became a king, and became a friend of God all while looking for a day he would never see. He waited in anticipation and faith.
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Psalm 62:5