Our reading for Week 2 of Advent focused on the third verse of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. We long for peace in the world, and Christmas is a time when that longing seems deeper and more ever-present.
Here is our reading from Sunday’s service. To read the week 1 devotional, click here.
During the Christmas season, we find the word “peace” on cards, ornaments, shop displays, and even plastered across our cups of coffee. It’s as if we hope the month of December will suddenly silence all conflict in our world.
But this year? Well, it’s 2020.
It hasn’t exactly been peaceful. The differences in our perspectives and experiences seemed to turn into battle lines that run through our governments, our communities, our families, and even our churches. Even in quarantine, the stresses of work and school invaded our homes. Fears about the future and frustrations over the present warred within our own hearts and minds.
If we’ve ever longed for peace, surely it’s this year.
The truth is, 2020 is nothing new. Man has been at war with God, with man, and with himself ever since Adam and Eve sinned. It was into this war-torn world that God sent a message of peace the very first Christmas. Angels in brilliant display were the first to trumpet the good news of peace on earth. This extraordinary proclamation came at the extraordinary moment God became man and dwelt among us.
But what about today? In His mysterious wisdom, He entrusted the extraordinary message of peace to ordinary men and women. Every week at Exodus, despite all the clamor and chaos of 2020, the good news of peace has been proclaimed in very ordinary ways. Online and in-person, from the pulpit and in community groups, in our Exodus Kid’s curriculum and in conversations with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we have heard that same gospel which hearkens back to that very first angelic refrain when God the Son took on flesh so that he might die for our sins that we might have peace with God, and in turn, peace with one another.
Psalm 46 verses 9-10 tell us that God “makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; he sets wagons ablaze. ‘Stop fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.’” God the Son came to us first as a baby, but he will come again as King to break the implements of war and silence hateful tongues. Even in 2020, the message of peace has not been silenced. So hear the invitation from “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”: “O hush the noise, ye men of strife, And hear the angels sing.”