The Path of Peace

Jason Curry | Dec. 5, 2021

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this. ~Isaiah 9:6-7

A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
a highway for our God.
Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” ~Isaiah 40:3-5

Peace is so hard to come by in a season that we believe should be FILLED with it. When we think of the Christmas story, its thoughts of Jesus sleeping peacefully in the manger, a contented Mary and Joseph doting on Him, as parents of newborns instinctively do. Even the barnyard animals are muted. No one is imagining a donkey’s incessant braying or that one rooster that thinks every moment is the crack of dawn, even in the middle of the night (btw, I believe that rooster lives in my cul-de-sac and my neighbors and I are conspiring to silence him once and for all.)

It’s a Silent Night. All is calm. Sleep in Heavenly PEACE, and so on and so forth.

While I don't think it was necessarily as I'm describing, I do believe there was incredible peace that night. What we DON’T think about, however, is all that PRECEDED this peace.

-An Angel of the Lord, invading Mary’s ho-hum day with the most miraculous and stunning news in the history of, well, NEWS.

-What were potentially INCREDIBLY TENSE conversations between Mary and Joseph regarding what the angel told each of them.

-A nearly 100-mile journey for both Mary and Joseph that he most likely took on foot, and she, most likely on the back of a donkey. They probably traveled the long way around, instead of through Samaria, which would have been the most direct route. Oh, and she was third-trimester pregnant. When it comes down to it, we're talking almost two weeks.

-The pain and typically unpredictable circumstances of childbirth, your FIRST child, with no one around who knows ANYTHING about this process.

Peace is a beautiful necessity, but the path TO peace is often fraught with (as Isaiah mentions) valleys, mountains, rough ground, and rugged places.

I believe in this season, God is calling us to prepare a place of peace for our brothers and sisters to encounter Jesus and the miracle of His birth and humanity. God is not just going to snap His fingers and level the mountains and valleys, He’s not choosing to smooth out the rough ground, or provide a path through those rugged places. That’s our job. The passage from Isaiah 40, echoed in John the Baptist's message some 700 years later doesn't seem like one of those praise reports of what God HAS done or even what He WILL do. It's not even a suggestion. It's telling us what we NEED to do. Our task is clear and so beautifully humbling.

We as believers have the peace of the Lord in our hearts, and whether or not we access it as often as we should, we have it. It’s unshakeable and as close as our breath. But we didn’t always have it. Our path to peace was prepared by someone else. We didn’t do this ourselves. I mean, how could we? We didn’t have a relationship with Peace! We didn’t know Jesus! Someone came before us and calmed the “rough and rugged” just enough for us to encounter the Lord, and we were forever changed. There are so many people out there that don’t have this peace, and God is calling us to be for them what He inspired in someone else for us.

Will we prepare the way of the Lord this month?

Are you willing?

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We pray earnestly for your peace this Advent season. We pray we can slow down enough that others who don’t know You will see your peace in and on us. We pray we can make a way this month for others to experience together Your glory revealed. Help us to level the ground, to raise up and lower in our own lives what needs to be raised and lowered so we aren’t a hindrance to you but a vessel for you.