I have lost the A in PEACE. The stockings are hung by the chimney in aggravation because my mantelpiece bears a typo:
P E C E.
So reads my stocking hangers. Rearranging them only renders further nonsense: CEEP. PEEC. ECEP. There isn’t much you can do without that A. I kind of need that A. Oh where oh where is that wayward A? Somewhere in my basement, no doubt, to be uncovered when I’m packing up the stockings.
Decoratively speaking, I have been robbed of my PEACE.
Peace is an illusive thing. Almost indefinable. Is peace the absence of war and conflict? But what if conflict or war leads to ultimate peace?
And He shall be called… Prince of Peace.
Thirty some years later the Prince of Peace said, “Do not think I came into the world to bring peace but the sword…” and went on to say how his coming will divide family and friends and nations.
Just when you think you can put him in a box….
We’ve all seen it, this tension, Christian or not, because The Prince of Peace says some pretty startling things: I AM the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one gets to God unless it’s through me. To some these words are life; to others, foolishness. Hence the tension.
Jesus is peace and promises peace, but it’s on his terms. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27) He says this right after he tells his followers he’s leaving for heaven. To get things ready for them. In the meantime he’ll be leaving them the counselor, the comforter (the Holy Spirit) and then, right after that, he says, Peace I leave you.
He’s leaving. He leaves us with the Holy Spirit. And peace. Hmmm…
A piece (no pun intended) of God living within us. To give us peace.
Maybe peace comes down to this: knowing who I am and who he is. More simply, He is God. I am not.
We may fight this tooth and nail but succumbing to this truth (whether for the first time or the hundredth time) allows us to take a big sigh of relief and ultimately brings peace.
Oh there will be storms. The Prince of Peace promised this. But he also promised he’d be with us, promised that the storms wouldn’t, couldn’t, drown out his immeasurable love. As his children, he promised us that when we ask for it, he’d give us a peace that makes no sense whatsoever given our circumstances. A peace that just may allow us take a little rest on a cushion while the waves crash across our tossed about boat, just like he once did .
Peace is not a life absent of storms. Peace is clinging to the life we have hidden in Christ amidst the storms. Clinging to the hope that even though there’s all this conflict and chaos and evil down here, he’s already conquered, and ultimately we will experience real, everlasting peace. Ahhh. Big sigh of relief.
I may not find the A this year. I didn’t think about what I was dong at the time, but in the middle of my PEACE, where the A ought to be, rests a little stone carving of the Prince of Peace himself. Jesus, the center of peace.
I want to keep Him there, but so many things (good things) seem to be shouting that they should take center stage of my peace:
Comfort. Security. Money. Health. Plans that go my way. People who act how I think they should act. The world behaving in a way that makes sense. (To me, of course. We all carry around an invisible The World According to ___ [insert your name] playbook.)
And then one by one these wobbly little legs fold and my so-called peace collapses like a card table.
Until I look again to the Prince of Peace, and center all the pieces around him.