This is the third week of Advent. Each week, four leading up to Christmas, we pause in remembrance of the birth of our Savior. In some households a candle will be lit in recognition of each of the Advent themes. This week we light the candle of Peace.
We are currently living on our boat for the winter. (more on this if you’re interested at http://www.mvmillertime.wordpress.com). We are nestled in a slip at a marina that sits on the edge of the Cooper River Near Charleston SC. It is a lovely location. The views from our boat are spectacular. From our bow we can see the historical Ft. Sumter and Charleston Harbor. We can see the retired aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, which is part of a maritime museum, from our stern. It is perhaps one of the most scenic marinas at which we have stayed…it is NOT the most calm.
This week as I think about the advent theme of peace, I kept hearing the song, “I’ve got peace like a River” rolling around my head. I wonder what river the writer of those lyrics was referring to? It was certainly not the Cooper River.
The Cooper River endures a huge tide variation. High tide can be as much as much as 5ft above low tide. This is impactful for many reasons, one of which is this results in VERY strong currents flowing through the marina.
This is also a tremendous amount of boat traffic. Fishing boats and recreation boats hurry past the marina with little care for the “no wake” zone. This creates numerous waves which make the boats in slips weave and bob as they strain against their lines. Monstrous cargo ships and cruise ships pass through this part of the river. Though these larger vessels do not pass at great speed, they push a tremendous amount of water. Small tsunami like waves roll into the marina and cause quite a disturbance regularly.
We have found that this marina is almost as rock and rolly as if we were at anchor. We are thankful for tight and secure lines.
There are times when it is peaceful I suppose. When the tides are about to turn, slack tide, the water stills as if it is holding its breathe before releasing the outgoing or incoming surge. There have even been quiet nights when the water traffic stilled and only the slosh of rushing currents disturbed the boat. But, it is not usually a calm, peaceful river.
Maybe I am not looking at peace the right way. I do equate “peaceful” with calm. I tend to think of “peacefulness” as something that happens in stillness and quiet. Perhaps peace, God’s peace is a bit more like the chaos of the Cooper River.
Life is not always still, quiet or calm. Sometimes life’s changes are as extreme as the tides here. We are impacted by such changes in ways that can be overwhelming. Sometimes, others move about us with little care for their impact on our lives, intentional or unintentional. We may find ourselves bobbing and weaving in response to the hecticness of things and people around us. We may even struggle to keep ourselves level when big events roll into our lives and demand a response.
God’s peace didn’t promise us “still, calm and quiet”. His peace is like the lines that hold us securely to the dock in the midst of all the chaos. This season we look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the advent of the gift of PEACE. In Him we find true peace, comfort when things are chaotic, security when we feel uncertain and courage when we face fear. The “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manger” would proclaim peace in our hearts.
“My peace I leave you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” John 14:27