Have you ever noticed that while we sing a lot of songs about “silent nights” and “peace on earth,” the holidays are actually some of the busiest, most frenetic times of the year? Shopping lists and pageants, Christmas parties and company functions, relatives in town and kids off from school—our lives amp up during this time of year. This season when we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace is perhaps one of the least peaceful times on our calendars. It’s more than a little ironic that we busy ourselves beyond what is bearable, all in the celebration of peace. We jest that we’re “too blessed to be stressed,” but what we really feel is “too stressed to be blessed.”
Culturally, we’re starting to recognize the unhealthy, long-term impact of always running at top speed. In fact, some of the most popular self-help books on the market focus on meditation, mindfulness, and minimalism. There is a widespread effort to reduce the clutter and white noise in our lives, so that we can experience more of the “centeredness” and wholeness we need. While these methods, practices, and modalities are helpful, they can never fully deliver on their promise of true and lasting peace. The world’s versions of these practices aren’t necessarily bad; they’re just not enough to establish true peace and rest in our hearts and minds.
The culture and customs of Micah’s day were different. No internet. No Instagram. No email. And yet, the pulls and demands of life weren’t all that different: work and family responsibilities, social obligations and opportunities, home projects and health concerns. The technology was different, but the fundamental concerns were the same. It’s against this backdrop that the people of God had to choose daily to pursue peace, to walk in the way of the Lord.
We see throughout Israel’s history that when they were faithful in walking in the name of the Lord, they experienced peace (Joshua 11:23). We have the same opportunity today, to walk in the name of the Lord, the Prince of Peace. We can pursue God and His righteousness because He pursued and loved us first (1 John 4:19). We can learn to walk in His ways despite what may be swirling around or within us. He came to bring us eternal and everlasting peace through relationship with Him. During this time of year, we get to celebrate the embodied birth of Peace. It’s comforting to sing about, but to truly experience it, we must choose to walk in it, step by step, and day by day.
Written by Andrew Stoddard