Peace is precious. Peace is not something we immediately sought for but at some points, peace is something we certainly need on our journey of life. At its end, most of us would want to die peacefully. What truly is peace?

“Peace* I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

This is the 4th and last Sunday of Advent. As we light the fourth candle in our Advent wreath, we prepare ourselves to welcome Emmanuel by dwelling on the gift of Peace. Peace is one of the greater manifestations of Emmanuel “God-is-with-us”. Peace is a tell-tale sign of God’s presence with us on our journey of life.

We remind ourselves that Advent does not only ready us for Christmas but prepares us to welcome Christ to accompany us on our journey through life. Our life journey is seldom smooth. When our life takes the occasional hiccup and veers into turmoil, we find ourselves troubled or afraid. We begin to look for signs, like in our first reading today, of God’s presence.

Life can indeed be quite harsh, with her fair share of challenges and difficulties. Relationships can bite, financial situations weigh us down, illnesses cripple, and grief can linger.  In the storms of life, where solutions are not forthcoming, we seek, above everything else, peace. Peace, like Hope, Faith, and Joy before, is God’s presence reaching out to connect with us.

Peace tells us, especially amidst turmoil, that God is with us. This is the Peace the world cannot give. Christmas tells us that Peace is already there dwelling in our inner self. Advent is preparations to activate our connection with Peace.

Our journey through life will continue to reveal God’s intimate presence in our life. But we need to be spiritually prepared to see the signs. We first need to believe and then actively seek to experience God’s presence. We need always to be praying, not merely muttering set prayers but to converse and dialogue. We pray to be aware and able to listen to God’s presence.

Signs of God’s presence often appear in the little details of day-to-day life. Signs can appear in seemingly inconsequential unexpected events. They also come along in the words and actions of loved ones, friends and even strangers. To listen is more than just hearing; it comes from encountering and experiencing this presence dwelling in us. Our Faith is a living experience, and Peace speaks through it.

When we begin to seek Peace, we begin a transformation in our inner self. Desiring peace conversely imply we seek less of what the world has to offer. We will realise that when we seek the signs of God’s presence, we begin to live a more God-centred life, increasingly dependent on his faithful promise that He will always be with us.

Advent also helps us to embrace that promise where at the Second Coming our tears will be wiped away and there will be suffering no more. The journey of life is taking us there.

At the end of this journey, we have only one desire which will be for peace. We want to rest in his presence as a faithful departed. After all life is a journey back to our Creator.  Emmanuel, he has come to accompany us on this journey.

Peace is who we seek, peace is what God gives us.

4th Sunday of Advent