During the season of Advent, I am going to do something new on the blog. I am going to try my best to offer a daily reflection here as we journey through this season together. To help frame the devotions I have been using hashtags designed by a group with the Episcopalian church. For example, the hashtag assigned for today is #Peace.
One of my absolute favorite Christmas Carols is likely one you are not familiar with, “The Peace Carol.” Bob Beers wrote and composed it and its text and melody is so beautiful and poignant. Those of you familiar with it, might recognize it from the Bob Denver and Muppet’s combined Christmas album.
Anyway, the text reads like this:
“The garment of life be it tattered and torn, the cloak of the soldier is weathered and worn, but what Child is this that was poverty born? The peace of Christmas Day.
The branch that bears the bright holly, the dove that rests in yonder tree, the light that shines for all to see; the peace of Christmas Day.
The hope that has slumbered for two thousand years, a promise that silenced a thousand fears, a faith that can hobble an ocean of tears, the peace of Christmas Day. (Chorus)
Add all the grief that people may bear; total the strife and the troubles and care; put them in columns and leave them right there, the peace of Christmas Day.” (Chorus)
In a lot of ways that’s the best definition I have ever seen for peace. It is not something easily and often attained, but it is something we can hope in and help build and work toward as part of God’s workers in the world. It is not about giving up the hard stuff or the pain, but it is recognizing that in that pain and in spite of that pain there is a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Do you experience peace in your daily life? What does peace look like for you? What do you hope it looks like for the world?
I also hear the words of Zechariah today as I think about this, especially in what is called the second hymn or “Benedictus,” in Luke 1:68-79:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Listen to that last sentence again. “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
After hearing and dwelling in the text of the “Peace Carol” and this passage from the Gospel of Luke, what comes to mind now for you about the idea of peace? What might it look like or be like? How might we experience it? How might we be able to help others experience it?
Image Credit: Peace Dove