“The most wonderful time of the year!” Reflections of Peace. Advent week Two
“Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace”
Some nights I lay awake and worry. Some days my guts feel the turmoil of anxiety. I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes I can't help myself as my mind races. Then I close my eyes, take a deep breath and ask God to fill me with his peace.
I strive to focus on the peace and goodness of God each day but sometimes the struggles of everyday life overwhelm me.
Do you feel anxious, worried, distressed and fearful? We all do at times.
Peace sometimes seems elusive, especially in our post-pandemic culture.
It is estimated that 264 million adults around the globe have anxiety. (World Health Organization, 2017) Nearly half (47%) of survey respondents experience anxiety regularly. (SingleCare, 2020)
Bookstores are full of self-help books for you to overcome anxiety, but what can truly bring an inner peace that saturates and overcomes the world’s anxiety? God promises peace if we connect with him. In relationship and prayer, he will be our peace. The Bible has well over 200 references to peace to comfort us.
We can look at the Christmas story and reflect on the promises of peace with Christ’s birth. The night Jesus was born, an angel appeared to the shepherds and proclaimed, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:14 NKJV
The Oxford dictionary defines peace as “freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.” In the old testament and Jewish culture, the Hebrew word Shalom means peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquillity.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV
We have the promise of peace, Shalom, with others as we put aside our differences in the unity of our faith.
“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” Galatians 3:28 NIV
In the new testament, before Jesus left earth, he proclaimed the gift of peace, and this inner peace is accessible to us as believers.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. John 14:27 NIV
So the next time you feel anxious or worried, seek the inner peace that only God can provide. The restful, tranquil peace of faith that will calm you as you close your eyes and focus on the one who loves you and gives you peace.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7NIV
Note: Join me as we continue our reflections on the advent season, Peace is the symbolic theme of this second week.
Last week I gave an overview of the history and meaning of advent in our preparation for the Christmas season, the traditional use of the wreath and candles lit each week leading up to Christmas Day.
A time of reflection and rest in a season notoriously wrought with excess, materialism, busyness, and exhaustion.
Week One we reflected on Hope.