By Garrett Vickrey
Shouldn’t that arrow up at the top of this page be facing the other way? Why would it say Return and then have an arrow pointing forward?
Before we enter the Kingdom of Peace to which God is inviting us we must put aside our ways to enter The Way of Christ. Isaiah proclaims, “For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.” We must make amends. We must repent to move forward into the peace Immanuel brings. Isn’t this always the case? Before things can be made right for us to live in peace we must make peace with each other.
Until we make peace, until we repent our sins cling to our conscience and become a stumbling block. Ever insulted anyone? Ever made anyone made? I thought so. The only way to have peace is to confront your mistake and apologize.
Southwest Airlines has people in their customer service division whose only job it is to apologize to customers. They ‘re called Chief Apology Officers. These representatives send apologies to their customers when anything goes awry. A few years ago they sent apology letters to everyone on one particular flight where a woman chewed on a seat cushion, then proceeded to run down the aisle screaming.
Their hope is to remove any obstacle to customers becoming repeat customers. It takes effort. It takes being intentional. It takes confronting the problem.
And that is exactly what peace takes if we are to have it this season.
Frederick Buechner once wrote, “For Jesus peace seems to have meant not the absence of struggle, but the presence of love.” His presence is what brings peace. So it is up to us to turn from wallowing in self pity and our indulgent grudges and return to the Way so that we might receive the peace of the Way of Christ.
A child has been born for us. This child is the future we need to get back to. The Advent road leads to the Prince of Peace. It is a demanding road. That insists we forgive. Insists we repent. Insists we reorient our lives around Immanuel.
Peace be with you.