Doves often settle in at the base of our backyard birdfeeder. As I watch them, I understand why they are a symbol of peace. While other birds flit nervously back and forth, the doves, draped in their pastel hues, sit stationary for long stretches, casually taking in the scene. Doves are a picture of peace and serenity. Even their gentle cooing carries a peaceful tone.
Their peacefulness makes doves a fitting symbol of creation. In the beginning, out of nothing, God created the heavens and the earth, all things visible and invisible. And all of it was good.
But not all of creation today exudes serenity or makes a fitting symbol of the peace of all things working together in harmony. Somehow our human rebellion against God included not only terrible consequences and conflict for our lives together, leading even to death, but it also upset the balance of God’s creation, which groans for rescue as we do.
The dove serves as a small reminder of the peacefulness of God’s creation as he intended it. In this way the dove also reminds us of the lack of peace in our world, and that turns our hearts in expectation and longing to the coming of the Prince of Peace.
O Lord, our God, when we in awestruck wonder consider all that you have made, we declare with all of our heart, how great you are! And at Christmas our hearts long for the coming of your Son, our Prince of Peace, in whose name we pray. Amen.