Col. 3:15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.
The word peace is encountered over and over again in relation to the nature of God or Christ. It is the God of peace who sanctifies us (I Thess. 5:23) and so as we come to this place in Colossians we recognize that it is this peace nature of Christ that is to rule in our lives. Christ’s peace is to be the arbiter of every circumstance and situation. This peace of Christ unites us together with one another as the body of Christ, but also binds us with God, becoming “partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:4) In this word “peace” we find the “stuff” of what it means to love God and love neighbor. The guiding principle or rule is the peace of Christ.
Peace was what Jesus was bringing to a world that seemed to always be in conflict. The night he was born the heavenly host came and declared:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:14 NRSV)
Even in this verse we see the vertical and the horizontal nature of the announcement. God receives glory — and the world receives peace. Love God — love neighbor. The pattern is played out over and over again.
We continue to journey through this season of Advent, anticipating the arrival of this little one — God incarnate — who would bring peace into the world. We have ornaments and mantle decorations that declare the word “Peace.” Advertisements on television (whether Christian or not) want to grab onto this idea of peace at Christmas. Check out the ad for Glade Scents — inspired by “peace on earth!”
The problem with the worlds’ emphasis on peace is that we want to have this celebration without Christ. To a world in turmoil it was Christ who would bring a deep and enduring peace to the very depths of humanity. It is the peace of Christ that takes us through the difficult days. It is the peace of Christ that allows us to stretch out our hands and welcome the stranger across the way. It is the peace of Christ that makes us want to go into all the world and tell others about him. It is the peace of Christ that ministers to us in the our deepest moments of despair and touches us with love. It is the peace of Christ that binds together God’s children in unity so that the world can look at the church and say, “see how they love one another.”
The Advent season anticipates “peace on earth.” Christ, the Messiah is coming to usher in a world that operates on a different paradigm. I’m afraid that too often Christians have been unwilling to allow the peace of Christ to rule to the very depths of who we are. We like to nurse our hurts, our pains and our fears. Jesus came to touch us in those very places.
If we allow peace to rule our lives we will be transformed on a daily basis. The season of peace is here. Will peace break out among God’s people?
Lord, may your peace rule in my life today. Amen.