At Christmas, we hear so much about peace: “Peace on earth, good will toward men” the angels pronounce. The long-awaited Prince of Peace is here!
Yet some 2000 years from this beloved advent, peace on earth can just as easily be noted for its absence. Ongoing violence in Syria. Yet another school shooting. Continued tensions in Palestine and Israel (where I have relatives working with MCC). In a world flooded with violence (and literal flooding along with war), it’s easy to wonder, peace on earth?
“Flood waters rise” describes well the world we live in, as singer/songwriter Josh Garrels reflects in his song, “Flood Waters.” But he doesn’t stop there. The absence of peace is not the absence of hope for peace. The song continues,
Love never dies, it will hold on more fierce than graves
Such persistence of love is the why the incarnation is so critical to Christian belief. In the midst of so much violence and hurt and sin and brokenness, the incarnation reminds us that God is with us - "God taking the risk of showing up in the flesh" as Parker Palmer relates. And Jesus’ words, “I am with you always,” were not just parting words for memories’ sake. No, incarnation remains the way of Jesus in the world. Peace is not just a future hope (Rev. 21-22). In the present absence of peace, we get the presence of peace.