One of my favorite stories on Peace begins, “Once upon a time…there as a king who sought a painting that would instill a sense of tranquility, even in the most difficult of times. Sent sent out an edit announcing a competition throughout the land for someone to produce such a masterpiece. The reward, a king’s ransom, stirred the imaginations of artists everywhere.
Finally the great day of unveiling arrived. The king reviewed all of the submissions and narrowed his selection down to two. The first was of a glassy-smooth lake reflecting passing clouds and green trees on the bank a under bright blue sky. A flock of sheep grazed nearby.
The second painting was of thunderous waterfall crashing and foaming angrily. One could almost feel its cold spray. Overhead were stormy-gray clouds, flashing lightning, wind and rain sweeping the landscape. But nestled on the cliffs of the falls was a tiny tree clinging to the rocks. In one of one of the branches, though, was a mother bird. Sitting peacefully she rested on her eggs. With her eyes closed and her wings ready to cover her little ones, she embodied the peace that transcends all earthly experience. This was the painting the king selected.
The apostle Paul wrote about such peace that is found in Christ. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace that passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (4:6-7)
Peace is an inner quality, a serenity, that allows us to face any situation with the calm assurance that God is present, that somehow God will work things out, not necessarily according to our will, but to the Almighty’s.
So, in this season of Advent, may the peace that passes all understanding abide in your heart.