Shalom Is What Happens
Maybe it's the time of year--the Christmas lights and music playing everywhere... or it could be the familiar ornaments and decorations that we pull out of their boxes to display for only a few weeks.
But I often find myself feeling more aware of things during Advent---more alive in a way. My senses are heightened, my ears perked up, my eyes opened a little wider than usual.
Last night I went on a walk and caught myself taking deep breaths, breathing in the smells in the December air---wood smoke, cedar, and a hint of something else, something hidden in plain sight.
There is the passage in the prophet Isaiah that is often read during the season of Advent. It goes like this:
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. (Isa. 9:2)
Whenever I have read that verse, or heard it read... it thrills me. I feel something swell inside of my chest, and it feels like my heart might break.
There is so much darkness in this world at times. So much. And yet the light breaks through still. Shining on us, lighting our way, giving us a glimpse of the shalom or peace of God that is both now and not yet...
During Advent I feel like I am able to see the light more clearly---to experience it more deeply with new awareness. I know that there are others who feel the same way.
And we long to share this light---and the hope that it brings. We want others to see it, too. We want the world to know... and yet we feel so inadequate to the task of telling.
I read this beautiful quote by Anabaptist pastor and author Osheta Moore:
We, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, catch glimpses of shalom, and pull our friends to stand in our line of vision so that they too can see the beauty of the kingdom. Shalom is what happens when the love of God meets our most tender places.I love how Moore describes how we "pull our friends to stand in our line of vision." Just like we would pull them out of harms way if harm was coming for them, we ought to pull others into this line of vision...
Only not by force or coercion, but by the power of our convictions, the joy of our salvation and the wide-eyed, glory-of-God induced wonder they see on our faces.
May you be carried away by glimpses of light this Advent season. May you be drawn into the sights and smells of hope. May you find that shalom has come and will come.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.