Peace on earth will come to stay, When we live Christmas every day.
Helen Steiner Rice
“The largest collection of historical working windmills in the Netherlands can be seen at Kinderdijk in South Holland. The 19 original windmills are inscribed on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list and have been restored to form a wonderful, idealistic panorama of historic rural Holland.” This internet description and numerous recommendations convinced me that I must see these windmills on my recent trip to the Netherlands.
So I do. On this day I walk to the port for a 3-hour excursion via the river Nieuwe Maas aboard the old-fashioned diesel ship “Nehalennia” to the windmills at Kinderdijk. I walk around the upper open deck, warmed by the fall sun and teased by a fresh breeze. The ship is slow and I am forced to stop rushing and soon even the most distracting thoughts are quieted. We arrive, dock, disembark and I discover the windmills flanking the sides of three lengthy inland canals. As I begin to walk, a gentle wind disturbs the long grass—taller than me—while the clarity of a pure blue sky intensifies the fall colours. Enveloped by soft rustling sounds and murmuring water, I wander by myself. My feet seem to have their own purpose so I let them lead as I watch the windmills’ sails gather the breeze and gracefully turn. I savour the unexpected peace this little jaunt brings.
My bible study directs me to Ephesians 6:10-20 and as I pore over it, I pause at verse
15 which reads, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. I find it interesting that shoes, feet and the gospel of peace are grouped together. Strangely, I remember my windmill walk, recalling that it was a purposeful walk that brought peace. I wonder, what do shoes and feet have to do with peace?
Our feet are to be ready because they have a purpose given to them by the gospel of peace. I recall that gospel means “good news”–the birth, life, death and eternal resurrection of Jesus Christ. Indeed, peace begins at Jesus’ birth as Isaiah 9:6 records:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Additionally, the announcement of Jesus’ birth corresponds with peace on earth (Luke 2:14). Slowly it occurs to me that the readiness connected to peace is all about Christ.
In the advent season it is right to celebrate the birth of our Lord, the bringer of peace, but it is also correct to understand that the gospel of peace has feet—-our feet. Thus, I have been challenged to walk with the Prince of Peace and to share the story of peace with those I encounter; for this is the purpose of the season. Are we ready to “walk” with the gospel of peace this Christmas?
Prayer: Lord, fill me with your peace. Allow this peace to be seen in me. Gently remind me to share you, the gospel of peace, with those around me. Amen
Homework: Spend time in Ephesians 6:10-20. The context reveals that we are to stand firm against spiritual enemies by putting on the armour of God. What part do shoes, feet and the gospel of peace play in this battle?
Contributed by Daryl Ginter