Advent Week 2: Peace in the Chaos graphic with an image of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in a manger encircled by the word 'ADVENT' in large letters.

Advent 2 | Peace in the Chaos

In our world, peace often feels like a scarcity that is elusive and hard to grasp. From the smallest units of society – our families, where squabbles and misunderstandings are daily bread – to the global stage, where conflicts and wars rage, peace seems like a fleeting dream. In every corner of life, we find evidence of brokenness, a world fractured by sin and self-interest. Yet, in this Advent season, we’re invited to look at peace through a different lens. Advent presents us with the profound picture of Christ, the Prince of Peace, who steps into this fragmented reality. It’s in Him that we find the true essence of peace – not as the world gives, but a peace that surpasses all understanding, rooted in reconciliation with God and the restoration of all things. This peace is not just a temporary ceasefire; it’s a fundamental transformation of our hearts and our world.

Our Struggle for Peace

In every human heart wages a relentless war, a glory war that Paul David Tripp so vividly describes. It’s a battle over what we cherish most, a contest between the glory of self and the glory of God. We often find ourselves caught in the pursuit of personal accolades, seeking validation and worth in achievements, power, or even the admiration of others. This pursuit, however well-intentioned, invariably leads us down a path of conflict, both internally and with those around us. It disrupts our peace, leaving us in a state of unrest, as our desires clash with the divine call to seek God’s glory above all else.

This internal struggle has far-reaching implications. It manifests in strained relationships, where the need for self-recognition eclipses the harmony we long for with others. It surfaces in our workplaces, homes, and communities, wherever the insatiable thirst for personal glory goes unchecked. The very peace we seek becomes elusive because our hearts are misaligned, fixated on self-glory rather than on glorifying the One who created us. The irony is stark – in striving for our glory, peace slips further away, leaving us more restless, more dissatisfied.

But in the Advent season, as we reflect on Christ, the Prince of Peace, we are offered a different narrative. Here lies the antidote to our glory war – a call to realign our hearts to the glory of God. This season challenges us to shift our focus from self to Savior, from personal accolades to the grace and peace found in Christ. As we embrace this shift, our internal war subsides, making way for true peace – peace within ourselves and in our relationships. This Advent, let us seek to end our personal glory war, turning instead to the peace that Christ offers, a peace that transforms hearts and mends relationships.

The Peace of Advent: Understanding Christ’s Role

The announcement in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased,” encapsulates the profound role of Christ in Advent. This proclamation isn’t merely a herald of joy; it’s a declaration of a new era, where peace is restored between God and humanity. The birth of Christ marks the beginning of this restoration, a pivotal moment where the divine intersects with the human, bringing the promise of true peace – a peace that had been long awaited and deeply yearned for.

In Jesus, this peace takes on flesh and blood. His coming is not just the arrival of a new teacher or prophet; it’s the embodiment of God’s plan to reconcile the world to Himself. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are the ultimate expressions of this peace. He lived not for the glory that comes from creation but for the glory of the Creator. Every action, every teaching, every miracle was a reflection of this higher purpose. In doing so, Jesus exemplified the path to true peace – a peace that isn’t dependent on earthly circumstances but is anchored in a right relationship with God.

As we reflect on the peace of Advent, we’re invited to follow Christ’s example. He calls us to live for something greater than ourselves, to seek the glory of God above all. In pursuing this, we find the peace we long for – a peace that is deep, enduring, and grounded in the divine. This Advent, let us look to Jesus, the Prince of Peace, as our model and source of the peace that heals, restores, and reconciles.

True Peace and Relational Harmony

The peace that Christ brings extends beyond a mere cessation of conflict; it reaches into the depths of our souls, bringing peace with God that radiates outward, impacting our inner tranquility and our relationships with others. This peace is the antithesis of the turmoil that entered the world in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve chose disobedience, the perfect shalom – the peace and harmony they enjoyed with God, within themselves, and with each other – was shattered. This brokenness has echoed through every human relationship since, manifesting as discord, misunderstanding, and separation.

The restoration of this shalom is central to Christ’s mission. His life, death, and resurrection bridge the chasm sin created, offering us a way back to peace with God. This reconciliation is the first step towards true inner peace. It’s a peace that isn’t dependent on external circumstances or our efforts but is rooted in the knowledge that we are forgiven, loved, and restored in Christ. When we are at peace with God, it changes how we view ourselves and how we interact with others. It gives us a foundation of security and worth that is unshakable, influencing our actions and reactions.

Moreover, Christ’s peace transforms our relationships. It teaches us to approach others not from a place of selfishness or pride, but with the humility, love, and grace that we have experienced in Him. In our daily interactions and relationships, this peace urges us to seek reconciliation, to extend forgiveness, and to love unconditionally. As we navigate the complexities of human relationships, let us continually seek Christ’s peace, allowing it to guide us towards healthier, more harmonious interactions.

The Savior’s Mission: Reclaiming, Rescuing, Restoring

From the manger to the cross, Jesus’ mission was clear and multifaceted: to reclaim, rescue, and restore. His birth signaled the beginning of God’s plan to bring back those lost in the wilderness of sin and despair. Throughout His life, Jesus demonstrated what it means to rescue hearts bound by fear and brokenness, offering a new path marked by grace and truth. His teachings, miracles, and interactions were all threads in this grand tapestry of restoration. He reached out to the marginalized, healed the sick, and embraced the outcast, embodying God’s love in action.

The power of Jesus’ mission is transformative. It goes beyond mere behavior modification; it’s about a radical change of heart and mind. Embracing His mission means accepting His call to a new life, one that reflects His love, mercy, and grace. It’s a life that continually seeks to align with His purposes, impacting not only our internal state but also our external relationships. As we embrace Christ’s mission, we become agents of His peace, reconciliation, and restoration in a world that desperately needs it.

Therefore, as we reflect on the Savior’s mission this Advent, let us strive to embody these principles in our lives. Let us seek peace through Christ, allowing His love to heal our inner turmoil and guide our interactions with others. In our homes, workplaces, and communities, let us be instruments of His peace, actively working to reclaim the lost, rescue the hurting, and restore broken relationships, just as Christ did.

Living in the Promise of Advent Peace

As we draw our reflection on Week 2 of Advent to a close, the enduring message is clear: the peace offered through this season is both a gift and a call. Advent’s peace, rooted in the coming of Christ, extends beyond the pages of scripture into the very fabric of our lives. It’s a peace that transcends understanding, one that calls us to live differently, to view our world and our relationships through the lens of Christ’s love and reconciliation.

This season challenges us to ponder deeply our role in fostering peace. In our families, workplaces, and communities, how are we embodying the peace of Christ? Are we agents of reconciliation, actively seeking to heal divisions and build bridges? The peace of Advent is not passive; it’s a dynamic, active force that should drive our interactions and decisions.

As we anticipate Christ’s coming, let’s commit to actively pursuing this peace. Let it be more than a seasonal reflection; let it transform how we live, how we relate to others, and how we engage with our world. May the peace of Christ rule in our hearts, guiding us to be peacemakers who reflect the hope and love of the Advent season.

Sermon & Sandwiches

Discussing a sermon after hearing it allows us to digest its teachings more deeply and see how they apply to our lives. Sharing insights with others can also open up new perspectives and encourage spiritual growth. Here are some conversation starters to facilitate this discussion:

  • “How does the idea of Christ as the Prince of Peace challenge our understanding of peace in today’s world?”
  • “In what ways have you experienced or struggled with the ‘glory war’ as described in today’s sermon? How does the gospel guide us in this?”
  • “What struck you most about the discussion on peace with God, and how it impacts our inner peace and relationships?”
  • “How can we practically live out the peace of Advent in our everyday interactions, especially in challenging situations?”
  • “Reflecting on the sermon, what steps can we take to become agents of Christ’s peace in our community?”
  • “What does it mean to you to actively pursue the peace of Christ in preparation for His coming, as discussed today?”
  • “How does the promise of Advent peace change the way we view conflicts or divisions in our personal lives?”

The Daily Devotion

Monday: The Promise of Peace

  • Scripture: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
  • Reflection: Reflect on the profound promise of peace announced at Christ’s birth. This peace is not universal but is offered to those who find favor with God through faith.
  • Prayer Focus: Pray for a deeper understanding and appreciation of the peace Christ offers, and for the faith to receive and live in this peace.

Tuesday: Peace in a Broken World

  • Scripture: “The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” (John 3:19)
  • Reflection: Contemplate the contrast between the peace Christ offers and the turmoil of a world that often rejects His light.
  • Prayer Focus: Ask God to help you be a bearer of His light and peace in a world that struggles with darkness and conflict.

Wednesday: Receiving Christ’s Peace

  • Scripture: “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” (John 1:11)
  • Reflection: Reflect on the tragedy of Christ being rejected by many, but also the incredible joy and peace given to those who do receive Him.
  • Prayer Focus: Pray for the grace to continually receive Christ in your life and to share the peace He offers with those around you.

Thursday: The Peace that Surpasses Understanding

  • Scripture: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
  • Reflection: Meditate on the transcendent nature of God’s peace, which goes beyond human understanding and circumstances.
  • Prayer Focus: Pray for this peace to guard your heart and mind in every area of your life.

Friday: Faith and Peace

  • Scripture: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…” (Romans 15:13)
  • Reflection: Consider how faith is the key to experiencing the fullness of God’s peace and joy.
  • Prayer Focus: Ask God to strengthen your faith, so you may experience His joy and peace more fully.

Saturday: Peace in Christ Alone

  • Scripture: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
  • Reflection: Ponder the unique peace Christ gives, distinct from any peace the world offers.
  • Prayer Focus: Pray for the ability to rest in Christ’s peace, especially in times of trouble or fear.

Sunday: The Global Promise of Peace

  • Scripture: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
  • Reflection: Reflect on the global scope of Christ’s peace, available to people from every nation who believe in Him.
  • Prayer Focus: Pray for the spread of the gospel and Christ’s peace to every corner of the earth​​.