Advent: An Implausible Peace

advent faith Dec 01, 2023

The birth of Jesus is narrated as a wondrous spectacle full of supernatural events featuring a cast of implausibly interconnected characters from disparate social locations across a wide geographic span. Angels with shocking proclamations to a pregnant virgin and to shepherds! Wise men from the East following a mysterious star in the night sky! Prophecies and canticles! All unfolding amidst the murderous rampage of an evil ruler! A child born in the midst of harrowing and transcendent events, each more mystifying and awe-inspiring than the last!

The story sparkles and shimmers with danger, excitement, hope, and breathtaking claims. One of the most outrageous of these is an angelic proclamation pronounced with the musical accompaniment of a heavenly choir: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those favored by God!” (Luke 2:14, author’s translation)

Peace on earth is such an incredulous proclamation to make. So audaciously sweeping that it is the punchline to jokes about beauty pageants and impossibly divisive politics. A proclamation as implausible as a heavenly choir singing to dusty shepherds in fields. As implausible as scholars leaving their ivory towers of study to follow a star. As implausible as a teenage girl giving birth to God in a barn.

It's all so overwhelming and transcendent and impossible and hopeful. This story of the birth of the Christos, the Anointed One, has captivated not only devout believers for two millennia, but cultures all over the world. It is a story of profound and impossible hope. A story of awe and wonder that brightens even the darkest moment of history, even the depths of human despair and suffering.

Whatever dark truth or poignant pain you face this Advent season, our wish and prayer for you is for peace – impossible, implausible wholeness, fullness, shalom. For moments when everything feels right with the world even amidst the struggle. For the shimmering brightness of hope that floods the soul. And for a faith that lights the darkness most fierce. And our prayer is that your peace might light the darkness of others, and that its glow would warm the hearts of those around you.

Luke 1:79 “To give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow dark as death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

The story of Advent draws us toward hope. And we celebrate this proclamation of peace year after year because it is profoundly true, even if implausible.

 Artwork by Cynthia L. Reynolds

About the artist: Cynthia is a watercolor artist and the retired founder and CEO of Threshold Ministries, Inc, a Christian humanitarian relief organization based in the northeast of the People's Republic of China. 

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