There’s probably not been a single day since the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, when all the world has been at peace – where’s there’s been no war or conflict or distress of any sort. Poverty, hunger and injustice still overwhelm much of humanity. Dictators and psychopathic maniacs and evil regimes still wreak terror and destruction across the globe and there’s no improvement in sight. That’s the reality we live with so we have to find peace somewhere when we think about the world and our future lest we become totally fearful and anxious. 

Human sin and evil weren’t overcome with Jesus’ birth – but the potential for and the promise of that in the future was. Does that make the here and now totally depressing? Not at all, but it’s in our anticipation of all that can and ultimately will be, that we can best find beauty and peace in the present. Today’s verses remind me that I don’t have to entirely understand our world and all that troubles it and that ultimately God is in control. He will accomplish what he desires and achieve his purposes, and in knowing and believing that, I can find peace and even joy in the circumstances of today with his promise of that coming to full fruition in the time to come. 

NT Wright expresses this beautifully:

“The world is beautiful not just because it hauntingly reminds us of its creator but also because it is pointed forward: it is designed to be filled, flooded, drenched in God, as a chalice is beautiful not least for what we know it is designed to contain or as a violin is beautiful not least because we know the music of which it is capable.“ 

Question: What will it take for you to ‘go out in joy and be led forth in peace’? Where can you find beauty?