I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world. - John 16:33
The second week of Advent is represented by peace, for Jesus Christ in His coming as a new born and in His return later to save the world represents real peace as well as freedom from sin. Jesus is the true Prince of Peace. But sometimes this confuses us, particularly when we discuss how we are to handle evil in a way that would be pleasing to God. Are we justified in "taking up the sword" by the same Savior who advised us to turn the other cheek. Well, I think the two opening scripture quotes give us a clue by the mention of the Tribulation, for while we are called upon to be loving and open we are allowed to stand up for Him by defending Him and, as His followers, ourselves. Certainly strife and war is not something which God desires for us, yet there are times when they are unavoidable and must be dealt with, exemplified again by the reference to the Tribulation.
We've all heard of Jesus' telling us to "turn the other cheek" and we often see that as an impossible requirement. But if you really study what Jesus is saying, he doesn't mean that you allow a marauding killer to take your life while you do nothing. Likewise, if you are a soldier in battle, God doesn't expect you to allow the enemy to take your life without a fight. No, the idea of turning the other cheek really means that when the battle is done, the ability to forgive the wrongdoer must capture your heart. And that is undoubtedly a difficult thing to do.
But during this "peace week" of Advent, remember Christ's charge that we be forgiving, no matter how heinous the act committed against us. Forgiveness shows that it is never too late to change a life for the good, that we offer peace if our opponent really wants to make that change. And don't worry, we're not talking about someone who is still hostile and aggressive but one who is calm but hasn't realized the wrong that he has done. We must forgive him and offer him the hand of friendship and maybe we can open his eyes to the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Nobody said being a practicing Christian would be easy, but the example that Jesus brought to us through His earthly life those many years ago offers us the hope and love needed to cope with the world we have and, ultimately, gives us directions for our own divine destiny. And that, folks, tells us clearly why the event we celebrate this month has changed the world. Oh, there are many evildoers roaming about today in this troubled world, but among them are those who are working hard to turn lives toward Jesus Christ and thereby open their hearts to a new beginning. Put on the Body Armor of God and get into living your life for Him.
Maybe I am being too optimistic but it need not matter what I think, for when the trumpet sounds and those present look upward, the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord will come to earth to rule and banish satan. And the question will be did we prepare for Him by living for Him before He came or were we too late? There's still time to get ready. Do so and live or else face the darkness that awaits. Ensure a heavenly future be letting the Spirit of Christmas put us on track for eternal glory. Only then will we find the ultimate Peace and we will do so in the company of the Prince of Peace. What could possibly be better than that?