… His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
We’ve all heard the crazy stories about the mayhem on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when we turn into greedy lunatics shopping during the wee hours of the night for bargains. Don’t get me wrong, I like bargains as much as the next guy, but come on people; workers getting trampled to death and shoppers getting pepper-sprayed, all for what? A bargain? How ironic this happens the day after our national holiday where we remind ourselves to be thankful for what we already have.
Envy and greed sneak up on all of us. I know I struggle with it. And I also know that when I do, I become miserable to be around. I’m never happy, never satisfied and always whining about how great everyone else has it. I have no peace in my life.
The second week of Advent, we focus on PEACE. Jesus came as the Prince of Peace and he calls each of his followers to be peacemakers. I’ve realized that’s much easier said than done, especially if I’m harboring envy. The best I can do sometimes is to try and be a peacekeeper. But that’s not the same thing as being a peacemaker.
As a peacekeeper, I’m more motivated by my selfish desire for my own comfort. It’s too uncomfortable to make peace in some situations, so instead of making peace, I just keep it by stifling necessary conversations that promote true reconciliation. Instead, I just “agree to disagree” and then avoid that person or topic from that point on. That’s not real peace.
Christ was the ultimate peacemaker. He came to bring us peace with God and with one another by modeling his life and death as the way of reconciliation. But many of the Jews in his day didn’t really want a peacemaker, because that would be too hard and take too long. Making true peace requires giving up your power and position. What many of them thought they wanted was a Rambo-type messiah who kept the peace through power and force, sort of like a military peacekeeping force armed with weapons.
If we are to follow Christ this Advent as peacemakers, we need to put to death our greed and envy and do the hard work of making peace with God and one another through reconciliation.
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:16-18
For an online Advent Devotional Guide go here:http://www.d365.org/followingthestar/
For another great Advent resource, check out http://adventconspiracy.org/