Peace: A Sermon for All God’s Children
Sightseeing is an exciting part of taking a vacation. People go out of town and desire to see something new – something amazing.
I remember going to Washington, DC. Randall and I went to the Martin Luther King, Jr Memorial. I wanted to be amazed, and I was. It was huge. It was massive. We really enjoyed being there.
I have also traveled to Nashville, TN. There was a full-scale replica of the Parthenon and this beautiful statue of Athena. I wanted to be amazed, and I was. It was huge. It was massive. We had a great time.
Then there was the time we went to San Antonio, TX and were excited to go to the Alamo. I thought, “This place is going to be huge.” We put the address in the GPS, and it started taking us into a downtown urban area. I thought, “This can’t be right.” But we kept driving. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by the Riverwalk and shops and restaurants. And then Siri said, “You have arrived at the Alamo.” I said to myself, “Where?! I don’t see anything!” We parked the car, got out and walked towards this small gate and this small plot of land. And the whole time I’m thinking “This is the Alamo?!” I wanted to be amazed, and you know what? By the end of the day, I was. So maybe it wasn’t huge. It wasn’t massive. But I had a great time learning about that interesting part of history.
Sometimes we have an idea of what something is supposed to be. Places, people, and even the themes of advent: hope, peace, joy, love. We might think we know how these things will come into our lives. I pray that in this Advent season, we will keep our eyes and our hearts open to the presence of God that might come to us in a surprising and unexpected way.
This reminds me of a story from 1 Kings 19, starting in verse 11. We see Elijah in need of peace and on a mountain waiting to hear from God. There was a mighty windstorm. There was an earthquake. There was a fire. But the Lord was not in any of those massive events. Then there was a gentle whisper. And in that still small voice, Elijah heard the voice of God.
Let’s think about love. I know a lot of children are looking forward to Christmas. When they wake up and see gifts from their parents or grandparents or aunts and uncles, they might think that this is a sign of love. While there is love in gift giving, that same love is there as those adults help with homework, make dinner, or serve as a soccer practice chauffer. Those everyday events might not look like huge, massive, Christmas morning love. But it is still powerful and meaningful.
When God’s people thought about the hope of a savior, they probably pictured a mighty king. Instead, the hope that came was in the form of a baby in a manger. This may not have been what they expected, but it was exactly what this world needed.
So as we journey towards Christmas 2020, maybe hope, peace, joy and love will look different than we might expect. May we be open to the amazing presence of God – however it may come.