“The company set out again, with good speed at first; but soon their way became steep and difficult.” (JR Tolkien-Fellowship of the Ring)
I wonder, dear reader, if your heart still remembers the pace at which you first set out? Do you think of the speed at which you moved through the valleys, and the rocks? And then you and me, and all of us came to a different terrain. Our legs grew stiff with the climb and perhaps our hearts grew wearisome at the time lost.
Yes, we often think it is about time-the rate at which we climb. When was the last time you sat in morning’s peace and let yourself feel small? When was the last time you looked out on a snow filled land and really believed in the purpose of winter? For everything slows down in this season. Travel becomes harder, outings become less and even markets can dip to reflect a land humbled under the recurring white season.
Yes, every year a good and loving King ordains winter and this should make us wonder, is it really about the pace? There are four seasons and each gives us new joys, beautiful wonders, and a unique reminder of the Creator’s beauty. So as we trudge through January’s gifts (for they are gifts), what do we make of the slowness?
What will we make out of the peace? For if we really listen to the snow and stop listening to the other “demands” of this world, we will hear a song of driving peace. Peace not earned but given. For we often think of peace as a destination- a land to finally settle in. Peace, we often believe, is a place where our pace finally pays off and grants us rest.
Yet, listen to the snow and watch the soil accept its lot. Watch how the land bears the weight of peace. For in a sense, peace is weighty for it demands we bear no other weight. And this may be the hardest thing many of us encounter. This may be why we despise the season and the slowness: we must admit our shoulders are not so broad nor so strong. We must admit our pace is laughable. I hope we laugh as we watch the snow fill the land. I hope we can be children everyday. For when the King of this earth took our lot and our weary shoulders, He whispered peace.
And so peace we have, dear friends. And peace we have without the pace. So perhaps this day we can be content with the slowness and softness. Perhaps this day we can look our broken but risen Savior in the eyes and whisper, take these burdens for I cannot carry them. And with laughter in His chest and strength in his brow, he will be our prince of peace.