Greetings all, here is your e-votional…
“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace.”
-Micah 5: 2-5a
As we move through Advent the Lectionary greets us weekly with Messianic texts from the prophets and this passage is no different. It is a hopeful passage full of promises of God’s fidelity, power and presence. And it concludes with an important word. Peace. Peace is one of the central themes of the Messianic prophecies and offers us messianic titles for Jesus like, “Prince of Peace.” This brings me to an important question I have for all of us. If peace is central to Messianic prophecies, if Jesus is called Prince of Peace, if he himself says, “Blessed be the peacemakers,” then why do so few of us work to cultivate peace in our lives, relationship and the world? We follow the prince of peace, but all too often we are not a people of peace.
The holidays demonstrate this well. How many of us will bark at strangers as the stress of the season leads us to feel rushed and harried? How many of us will have political arguments with family when we gather? How many of us will hang Christmas decorations as we listen to politicians preach conflict, war and division? The truth is that we, as followers of Jesus, should be cultivators of peace in this world. We should bring people together, overcome divisions and diminish strife. When people see us they should feel safe, knowing they will not be bullied, attacked, or dismissed. And this is not some sappy, Pollyanna view of the world; this is our vocation as followers of Jesus Christ.
As Advent continues, don’t just spread cheer and don’t reduce the season to a do list. Make these coming days a celebration of peace in a world which has way too much conflict. There will always be violence, war and vitriol. There will always be tyrants, blowhards and scoffers. But these things should always be met be a people who quietly go about the business of bringing peace. After all, we worship peace’s Prince, we, as his disciples, must honor that.
Prayer: Holy God, make me an instrument of your peace. Help me to love others with bold selflessness. Release me from futile anger, frustration and fear. Lead me into relationships where I can bring peace in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.