Thursday, Dec. 5 – Philip Swicegood

5 Dec

Thursday, Dec. 5 – Peace

Today’s Scripture:
Isaiah 2:1-5; John 17:20-26

PEACE

Peace is such a mysterious, ephemeral thing.  It is a gift, a by-product of right relating.  But peace can easily evaporate.   When we are not at peace, one of three things is typically at work in us: busyness, conflict, or insecurity.  Yet these peace-killers do not have to be our identity.  Christmas has changed all of that.  The incarnation of Immanuel is an invitation that we can be the ones “on whom God’s favor rests” (Luke 2).

Busyness

The gift of “no” may be the best gift we can offer this holiday season.  Whatever busyness may be happening in the holiday swirl around us, saying “no” to some festivities can enable us to say “yes” to a “silent night, holy night.” Choosing less rather than more helps insure that this holiday is indeed a holy-day.  In a culture that tends to make Marthas of us all, we would do well to follow Mary’s example and embrace the gift of gracefully wasting time with the One who is God-with-us.

Conflict

Perhaps the most amazing thing about the Christmas story is its context.  Even when we were still in our sin and rebellion, God made the first move toward reconciling us to Himself.  That move became tangible in a stable, in a manger.  The incarnation of God-with-us was the opening invitation to set aside the conflict and be reconciled.  It is also the blueprint for us as Christ-followers, since we are called to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5).  Becoming peace-makers is our calling, but God never asks us to do something that he has not first done for us.

 

Insecurity

I recall as a young boy going on one of my first camping trips with my brothers.  As night approached we built a large bonfire and rolled out our sleeping bags.  Though none of us would admit it, we grew a bit nervous as darkness deepened and unidentified noises emerged from the woods around us.  Then around midnight the familiar voice of our Dad called out “Hello campers!” as he approached the ring of firelight.  Instantly all of our insecurity faded with his arrival.  That night we slept in peace, secure in the presence of our Dad.

By a shepherd campfire two millennia ago, angelic voices announced the arrival of our Savior.  He had come to be among us, in the midst of our brokenness and fear, to assure us of his love and favor.  Mankind’s insecure future could now be replaced with peace, based on a confidence that the God-with-us would set all things right.

Pax Christi vobiscum,

Philip

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One Response to “Thursday, Dec. 5 – Philip Swicegood”

  1. Charmane December 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

    “Embrace the gift of gracefully wasting time with the One who is God with us.” Good way to put it Phillip..it really is such a gift!

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