Welcome to the final days of Advent. The fourth Sunday is Peace. The fourth week of Advent does not last very long this year, but that's okay. Peace is peace.
We spent a lot of time in worship this morning talking about Jesus as the Prince of Peace, the bearer of peace, our yearning for peace, and Jesus's peace in our hearts. Jesus is the source of peace, in our hearts and in our minds. But what are we to do with the peace that Christ gives us?
I'm reminded of the Beatitudes:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God. Matthew 5:9
The peace that Christ gives us is not meant for us alone. We are to take that peace and share it with others. We are to be peacemakers.
How do we do that? How do we become peacemakers? I've been spending a lot of time in the book of James lately, so this passage comes to mind:
Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. James 1:19b-20
The best way to broker peace is to listen first and offer advice much, much later. I wonder how many arguments could be prevented by listening more. Most arguments can even be calmed down if both sides believe they have been heard. Not everyone wants their problems fixed by someone else; they just want someone to listen.
James is right. Anger cannot produce doing right by God. Maybe righteous anger can produce justice, but right actions do not come from a place of anger. The next time you feel your anger building, try to walk away and pray for the peace of Christ. Pray for the patience to listen. Maybe you can set an example for another angry person to follow.
Being a peacemaker is not easy, just ask any parent of siblings. Yet, we demonstrate the love and peace of Christ every time we help to diffuse an argument or conflict.Then we shall be called the children of God.
This holiday season, stay safe and stay calm. May you feel the peace of Christ in your heart and in your home.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Prince of Peace, help me to listen first. Help me to keep my tongue in check. Keep my anger at bay. Thank you for the gift of peace and may I use it wisely. Amen.