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Amazing Peace

By Rev. Joan Kessler

Reading: Luke 3:1-6

We are considering Peace this second Sunday of Advent and just under three weeks until Christmas. We write of it in our Christmas cards and sing it in our favorite carols; we exercise peace in our gift-giving. American poet Maya Angelou calls this the Glad Season and the “halting of hate” time of year.

Our understanding of peace comes from assorted contexts and definitions. It is a state of tranquility and solitude, what we know as an inner kind of peace that finds roots in our spiritual place, our beliefs, and practices. We also know peace as an absence of conflict, the opposite of war; it is freedom from civil disturbances, and we uphold the intrinsic value of peace and its good order. Peace is freedom…freedom to live where one chooses in the pursuit of happiness and a hopeful future where one’s needs are met.

I have been thinking about Peace this past week…and I have wondered…do I only understand peace by its absence? That might sound like a peculiar question…let me put it another way…Do I only consider Peace by what it is not? I think I take it entirely for granted most of the time until some crisis arises. The climate-related events of atmospheric rivers, record-breaking temperatures this past week, and now an unstable snowpack and increased avalanche risk…change is all around us. The nightly newscasts take us to the ground zero of the flooding, the loss of homes and livelihoods,