This is the third week of our advent celebration. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we take time to focus on the real reason for our merriment. While we mark the days for the coming of Christmas, we also recall the coming of our savior. This week we consider PEACE.
I was sitting in a small airport in Florida awaiting my return flight home to Virginia. It seemed to happen in slow motion, a sort of quiet wave of cause and effect. First, a fellow traveler sitting beside me received an alert on his phone. A tiny “ping” prompted him to look at the updated information about his/our flight…there was a delay. As I noticed his activity, I looked at the board above the gate as it rolled over a new notice for passengers…”flight delayed”. There were only about 20 of us in the waiting area, but eventually everyone had out lap tops or cell phones. You could hear the other conversations, some to family members alerting them to the glitch in the plans, most were to booking agents seeking assurances that connections could be made. Then the real trouble began!
I heard it before I saw it, a heavy sigh, an exasperated gasp, I looked at the board above the gate now radiating that dreaded word, “canceled”. No one rushed the counter, which was good since there was not an attendant there at the time. Everyone used calm hushed tones while making calls to airlines, travel agents, and those who would be impacted by the cancellation. If it were not for the jarring word “canceled” above my flight number, I would have considered the scene serene.
As I sat there, the scene around me relatively calm, I thought about how very different this would have been if I was at one of the two busier airports we fly out of in Northern Virginia. I have been there before, at the airport, when flights were getting delayed/canceled….it would never be described as serene
As soon as there was an indication of a delay, cells phones would burst into action, callers taking demanding tones with whomever they were engaging with. Long lines would quickly form in front of the gate’s podium. Overwhelmed airline personnel would attempt to service distraught passengers. Throughout the gate area you could hear everyone’s stories of despair as they shout into phones or at attendants… “I’ll miss the wedding”, “This meeting is huge, I can’t miss it”, “my boss is not going to believe this”, “where am I going to stay if I can’t get out tonight?”. Eventually the chaos rolls into a general grumbling that is heard under every breath. There would be a noticeable rise in the collective blood pressure of everyone involved.
A canceled flight. A common crisis. A dramatically different response.
The “plan” changed and passengers could choose how they would respond….peace or panic. “Peace or panic?” In my head I hear this phrase in the tone and voice of the cashier at my local Farm Fresh, “paper or plastic?”
This week I am thinking of all the things that have not gone as I had planned or hoped. I KNOW, I KNOW there have been tons of wonderful things that have gone far beyond my expectations. I do not mean to imply that I take the blessings in my life for granted, but if I am honest, I must admit, there have been moments where I have been shaken, and decidedly a little panicked, when things did not going according to my plan.
My peace. My sense of calm. My feelings. My plans. These things are always changing.
This week, as we focus on PEACE for advent, I am breathing in the wonder of HIS PEACE.
His peace, the peace that settles over me even when things make no sense.
His peace, the peace that relieves the weight of my guilt.
His peace, the peace that replaces my panic and reminds me that HIS plans are best.
His peace, the peace that bundles me up in the knowledge that He will never leave me nor forsake me. His peace, the peace that “surpasses all understanding”(Phil 4:7)
“ ..and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace…” Isaiah 9:6
Again, I can hear in the voice of a cashier..”Peace or Panic?”…..”Peace, please!”