Advent Week Four: Peace
Peace is often most profoundly found in our darkest earthly moments.
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27
Earthly peace is portrayed as stepping away from the chaos of routine. It’s on vacation soaking up the sun or sipping warm tea by the fireplace.
However, my deepest peace has most often been found on my knees, in holy surrender, with nothing to cling to but Jesus. It starts here, and as I spiritually mature and learn greater dependency on the Lord, it comes easier in the smaller interruptions as well.
I had been craving a deep connection with Jesus for months now. The last time I had it was in mid-summer. I had a very full season this fall, which was excellent, but didn’t give much time to sit and soak up a lot of quality time with Jesus. Then this past month I’ve felt sluggish in a sense. I had things to do, but I was out of discipline in many areas and my heart struggled to connect.
Then I got sick last week. It caused me to stop everything and rest (hence why I disappeared for a few days from here!). I spent most of my days alone, so it was God’s perfect timing to catch my attention. Knowing I wasn’t motivated to do anything, I gave myself permission to sit and listen to the Lord. For the first time in a while, I focused on the words of the worship songs I sang (in between spouts of coughing), and began to feel my heart connect with Jesus again. His word held deeper meaning as I read it. Though I was physically still sick, I began to feel my spirit lift. I read a chapter in a book to which brought greater freedom in an area I was struggling with as well, and peace to my spirit as it reflected upon discipleship in Christ.
We studied Joy in advent last week. So often in the Bible, joy and peace are seen working together.
“Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil, but those who promote peace have joy.” Proverbs 12:20
“You will indeed go out with joy and be peacefully guided; the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.” Galatians 5:22
“But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: 11 Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!” Luke 2:10-14
(Emphasis added to all Scriptures here)
In Luke 2, the angels brought the shepherds three main words in their message – Joy, peace, and Savior.
“Don’t be afraid” – What’s the opposite of fear? Peace. Jesus’ very birth and life were bringing peace!
“Good news of great joy” – Peace and joy go hand-in-hand. When you aren’t afraid, and you’re content in the peace of God, your spirit automatically has room to rejoice and be joyful. Jesus’ message of peace brought “great joy!”
How could the shepherds have great joy and peace? Because Jesus, their Saviour was born! The long awaited, prophesied Messiah had come to the earth to conquer sin and death, bringing life, hope, and peace to all who believed in Him.
Jesus gives us the, “gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15). His very life is peace. We find greater peace when we surrender ourselves to our Saviour.
In greatest darkness, light shines that much brighter. No matter what you’re facing this Christmas, you can find peace when looking at a tiny baby in a manger because you know where His story is going. His life brought the greatest gift of peace you’ll ever find.
Don’t be afraid to receive it from Him this Christmas. It is a gift He freely gives.
If you’re alone this holiday for whatever reason, take time to rejoice in your Messiah and worship Him. It might end up being the greatest Christmas experience you’ve ever had.
“Though the mountains move
and the hills shake,
my love will not be removed from you
and my covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
says your compassionate Lord.” Isaiah 54:10