Peace: When everything else is chaos
-Rev Melissa Fain-
68 “Bless the Lord God of Israel
because he has come to help and has delivered his people.
69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in his servant David’s house,
70 just as he said through the mouths of his holy prophets long ago.
71 He has brought salvation from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
72 He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and remembered his holy covenant,
73 the solemn pledge he made to our ancestor Abraham.
He has granted 74 that we would be rescued
from the power of our enemies
so that we could serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness in God’s eyes,
for as long as we live.
76 You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
77 You will tell his people how to be saved
through the forgiveness of their sins.
78 Because of our God’s deep compassion,
the dawn from heaven will break upon us,
79 to give light to those who are sitting in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide us on the path of peace.”
Luke 1:68-79 CEB
Christmas of 2012 was chaos. Family from both sides were moving away after we had just moved back. We didn't have a living room, because the house we were staying in was too small for our four person family. I was working long night hours as a server at a local restaurant, because it was the only job where I could take care of a baby during the day, and get employment after my husband came back from work.
Only, this ornament isn't about 2012. This ornament was from 2011.
I had had a baby, and two weeks later everything happened at the church. All those emotions were amplified by pregnancy hormones, and the immediate loss of them. If I could pin point why this event sent me into a depression, my physical condition would be the first thing I would cite.
But she was here. It wasn't fair this was the world she was entering. She was born in the middle of extreme chaos for our family. Born a church orphan.
For our son, we had carefully picked out his "baby's first ornament" as soon as the season began. It is a picture ornament, so I made sure to capture him in the joy of Christmas.
That all came crashing in around me as, the day after Christmas, I realized I never got my daughter her first ornament. Rushing to the store, the best we could find was a blue spoon. I was heartbroken. That's what we were giving her, "the best we could do." I searched in vain for at least a pink spoon, but none were to be found.
Every year my heart breaks a little putting that spoon on the tree. This year something changed.
I was at my computer when I hear my daughter talking by the tree. "Mom! You can't put my spoon where no one can see it! You have to put it in the middle of the tree for all to see! This is my spoon. This is my ornament, and it's beautiful."
The point is, sometimes peace is born in chaos. Sometimes you find peace like a discarded and picked over collection of ornaments, and it's only years later you realize what you had.
In the bible, everything appeared lost for the Israelites. They were occupied, poor, and the only leader called to speak for them was working for the enemy (Herod). In the middle of all that chaos a baby was born. A child was given. Not to burn it all to the ground, but to bring peace. They wouldn't see it right away, but eventually they would. Peace on Earth, and goodwill to all.
Let us pray: Wash over us, God, and clean away our anxiety and fears. Wash through us, God, and purify our spirit. Wash under us, God, and sweep away that which keeps us from moving forward. Amen.