REDISCOVERING THE ANCIENT PATH THROUGH ADVENT—Week of December 19, 2021
Sleep in Peace: Ps. 4:8
As we wrap up examining Benedict’s rules for Christian formation through the lens of Advent, we will conclude with Rule 4.72: Sleep in Peace. So many of the Christmas songs we sing this time of year revolve around the concept of peace. In fact, the song Silent Night even contains the line “sleep in heavenly peace.” For those of us who grew up in Christian homes, we have sung these songs too many times to count. But what does it really mean to “sleep in peace”? Why is peace such an important concept in Advent?
Advent is the celebration of God’s peace mission to mankind that began in Bethlehem. As we looked at last week in Rom. 5:6-11, Advent is a reminder that God does not want to be our enemy; he wants to be our Friend. Though we did not want peace with God, he wanted to be at peace with us, and he sent his only Son, Jesus, to make the way for that peace to happen. That’s why Isa. 9:6 refers to Jesus as the Prince of Peace. Thus, when we give our lives to Jesus and accept his free gift of salvation, we have peace with God—a peace that passes all understanding and brings security no matter what difficulties we might face. But remember, Advent isn’t just a celebration of Christ’s first coming; it is also a time when we look forward to his second coming. Though Jesus made the way for our redemption with his first coming, that salvation will not be complete until he comes again. Advent is a time when we renew our hope in that second coming and rest in that promise. Though the world trembles in fear around us, we can lay our heads in peace and rest secure knowing that Jesus is coming again. We have peace in all circumstances because we know that “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:6)
- Think through your favorite Christmas songs. How many mention peace? How might your understanding of those songs change with this discussion of peace?
- Why was it important that God made peace with us instead of the other way around?
- Do you feel secure and at peace? Why or why not? How might the focus of Advent help with any fears and doubts?
- What are some ways that you can bring peace to others this Christmas season?
- How might focusing on Jesus coming again change how you live and relate to others? How might it change your view on the importance of sharing the gospel with the lost?