Advent 2022: First Sunday of Advent, Peace

Published November 27, 2022 by J Hill

If you have gotten an email from me it's likely that I ended by saying "Peace." For me it's a pause, a deep breath, a rest note.


Sit by me during worship and you'll know about three minutes into the service that I'm not a singer. In fact, I'm not a musician in any sense of the word. That said, I do think about music—in fact I think about it a lot. I enjoy music but enjoying music doesn't, in and of itself, require me to think about music.

The reason I think about music so much is because its underlying elements are also the underlying elements of visual art. That's a field I've worked in and taught in for a very long time. Rhythm, layers, texture, cadence are the stuff that makes a composition of music and of visual art. Rhythm is pattern. Layers, texture, and cadence add to the dynamic quality of an artwork. A visual artwork can even have a lyrical quality which helps it convey a certain level of passion.

But it is the rest note that I think about the most—that's right, the often ignored, let's hurry up and get through this, rest note. We have them in visual art too and they're mostly overlooked there as well. If not overlooked, it's at least fair to say their importance is ignored. By ignored, I mean relegated to the unnecessary, and yet they may indeed be the most necessary element one could design into a work of art and into life. The rest note is the place we can sit quietly, peacefully—but it's more than that. It's the place where we can absorb, process, and appreciate all that's gotten us to where we are now. It's a calm place to be retrospective...

and it's a place to imagine what we can become.

Maybe another picture of this peaceful rest is a quiet star-filled night. For me, that's a place of calmness, a place of peaceful reflection. Yet the longer I sit there, the more stars come into focus and the more I discover how boundless and full of possibility God's creation really is. For me, it is in that moment of Peace that the truth and evidence of God becomes most clear.

God, help me to recognize the rest notes in life. How the Peace you have provided is one of reflection and one of boundless imagination. When I find it, remind me not to hurry through, but to reflect, to imagine, and to just sit in that place of Peace.