Monday, December 19, 2016

The Advent and Maintenance of Peace



            
           Yesterday we lit the Peace candle for Advent, a topic we’ve been studying for several months here on Broken Hearts.
           
            But this time of year, it often seems impossible to obtain or feel any kind of peace. My dental hygienist and I were just discussing that this past week. Every year she hopes to get ahead of the game and “be ready” early for Christmas. But this year she’s once again lamenting her lateness and all of the things she still has left to do.
           
            And shoppers scurry (and often push) through malls and then rush home with their presents, sometimes causing accidents in their haste, or frustrating and screwing up traffic in their text-driving multitasking.
           
            Some corners of the world live in constant upheaval wondering if a bomb may flatten their home and rob them of loved ones. Prodigal children leave their parents heartbroken and subsisting on happier memories. Recent family deaths or breakups leave survivors lonely, anxious, grieve, or bewildered. I remember the year my dad died, just two weeks before Christmas. The mood, in spite of our attempts to the contrary, was somber.
           
            Just how can someone have peace this time of year? Really slow down, quiet his heart and mind, and let the heart and mind thrive in a peaceful state?
           
            There’s only one way to really have and enjoy it and only One person who can deliver. And that Person is Jesus, the Messiah; the Prince of Peace.
           
            And it’s His candle we’ll light this coming Sunday, Christmas Day. The Christ candle. The culmination of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. In a baby. But not just any baby. God in the flesh. Come to us. Immanuel. Prince of Peace. When He came down from Heaven is when peace truly entered the world. A centuries-old prophecy fulfilled.
           
            As Betsy Arkema writes: “Becoming human was not a twist of fate…, it was a choice. God chose to give up everything—to become nothing.
           
            “This child was a King. A King in a dirty stable, wrapped in rags—but a King with a plan.
           
            “This child would bring hope. Not just a wish, but the confidence that God would win over evil.
           
            “This child would bring love—a love that would never be taken away, a love that is beyond our understanding.
           
            “And this child would bring joy, for he would deliver us.
           
            “This child would bring peace, even in the midst of great suffering and trials—a peace that assured his followers that he is in control even if it feels likes nobody is.”




           
           
            Are you feeling at peace right now? Have you asked yourself why and explored all of the potential reasons? Are they obvious to you? Wondering how you can have it?

            Try praying. I know it sounds too simple, but prayer—real God-beseeching prayer—is difficult. Slip away to a quiet place—your prayer room, favorite chair, and outside spot. Hang up a “Do Not Disturb” to keep out intruders. Put your baby down for a nap. Lay out your prayer mat. And then—

1. Open your Bible. Ask God to lead you to a passage that will speak directly to your heart. Personalize the passage; nothing is so powerful as praying the Scriptures. Ask God to give His peace that transcends all understanding.

2. Express thanks to Him for your blessings—your family, your health, your memories, your future hope in Him and eternity. His past faithfulness to you.

3. Then, be watchful, tuned in to your heart. If turmoil and sadness and doubt threaten to dismantle you, turn your burden over to Him. Lay it down at the cross and leave it there. DON’T pick it up again. He knows what to do with it.

4. And don’t feel guilty about lying down to take a rest. Listen to your body; it’s designed to send out warning signals to tell you what it needs. Often our acute sense of turmoil is simply too much stress and stimulation. Babies and toddlers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a nap!

           
            Then rejoice on Sunday morning, for the Light of the world has come into the world.
           
            And rejoice! For He’s coming back!!







I’d you like to read a fun Christmas story about how God works on His own timetable, for our pleasure, even when things seem to be late, you’ll want to read my extra post I’ll be putting up on Wednesday. It’s the short story “A Heavenly Timetable.” An abbreviated version was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul’s recently released book The Joy of Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

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So, until next Monday, may your week be full of blessings that you receive and give, your heart be full of joy and thankfulness, and your days be filled with laughter. Build a little heaven in your life right now, and watch your heavenly garden grow!


Blessings,

Andrea

When the eyes of the soul looking out meet the eyes of God looking in, heaven has begun right here on earth. ~ A. W. Tozer

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