Peace on Earth

cardinal 1768Today is the second Sunday in Advent.  In worship this morning we lit the candle of peace.  The timing is good.  It seems tension is escalating on numerous fronts.  Many are worried over what will happen in Korea.  That peninsula is hardly the only hotspot.  At the present time there are eight ongoing wars that claim at least 1,000 lives per year and 22 smaller-scale conflicts where countless others die.  Even where there is no literal killing there is still much conflict.  Many have noted in recent months how our society has become marked by animosity and conflict.  You see this in Congress, among ethnic groups, in many churches and families.  We may hear a lot about “peace on earth” these this time of year but finding it is another thing.

titmouse 1916For me peace is found first and foremost through my relationship with Christ.  In him I have found what the apostle Paul called “the peace that passes all understanding.”  I cannot help but believe that if people took more seriously the life and teachings of Jesus that there would be far more peace in the world.

The other place I find my greatest peace is in the natural world.  Perhaps this is because the world was fashioned by the Prince of Peace.  I’m not real sure why it is, I just know that in Creation my nerves are soothed and my tensions often find relief. 

Yesterday we got our first measurable snow here in the mountains of eastern Kentucky.  Everything has been blanketed in white and looks so beautiful.  At my home the birds flocked to the bird feeder outside my bedroom door.  By opening the door and sitting on my bed I was able to photograph the birds you see here.  I found this very relaxing and was reminded of something John Muir once wrote.  He said, “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”  Yes, there is a peaceful side to nature that can calm even the most troubled soul.

chickadee 1832I suspect there will always be conflict and tension in the world.  For that reason I remain grateful for the peace Christ and his Creation bring to my life.  If people would spend more time in their presence I suspect there would be far more peace on earth than there is right now.