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Tag: Peace

Santa and Sleigh moving across the moon.

Add an E to Pace

Beware of holiday burnout. A local radio station announced that December 15th was when adults started to grow tired of celebrating Christmas. According to the station, this year’s weariness came earlier than usual. I can speculate on a few reasons why. It could be because supply chain issues had people shopping too early, that stores have displayed Christmas decorations since August, or because we’ve entered a time warp and are reliving Christmas 2020 (at least here in New England.)
To be honest, this Christmas had been a struggle to keep up the pace and the peace. I don’t know whether it’s or because I kept remembering one more person I’d forgotten to shop for and scrambled only to wait in massive lines to buy a gift, or because my boys are teens and too old for Christmas magic, but this Christmas felt hard. I shouldn’t complain because for others, Christmas is a reminder of a heavy heart or the empty place setting at the table, and I have much to be grateful for.

It’s odd, but the book of Lamentations put everything in perspective for me. Jeremiah writes about the desolation of Israel, and as he had prophesied, the Babylonians had invaded, destroying the temple and walls of Jerusalem. The people who weren’t carried away as prisoners ran off to Egypt and were killed or starved to death in their Jerusalem homes. Only a small remnant survived. Things looked dark and bleak for the Jewish people, but God was setting the stage to offer forgiveness to a world that repeatedly refused to listen and kept returning to its wicked ways, like a dog to its vomit.
God was preparing a way, which meant sending His son to save us.
The peace that passes all understanding is knowing God is doing good no matter how things may appear or feel. We must remember that God is victorious even when it looks like defeat. Peace is the faith that God holds you in the palm of His hand and that He is for you. It’s submitting, knowing God is in control, and relaxing because He came to bring peace, and He’s coming again.
In his, Handbook of Christian Feasts, Francis X. Weiser explains how when we wish someone a Merry Christmas, we are actually wishing them a blessed, peaceful Christmas. He states, “The well-known carol ‘God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen’ is an excellent example of the original meaning of ‘merry.’ The position of the comma clearly shows the true meaning (the word is not an adjective describing ‘gentlemen’) and therefore is not ‘God rest you, joyful gentlemen,’ but ‘God rest you peacefully, gentlemen.’” (Weiser, Francis X., Handbook of Christian Feasts, Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1952, Pg 69.) The turning of this phrase shows God’s peace is what brings us happiness.
As we sprint towards the Christmas finish line, ready or not, let’s remind ourselves of the win. It’s not about presents under the tree or cards in the mailbox. It’s a baby born in a manger. Jesus was given to us, and the weight of this world and the government rests on His shoulders. Instead of ours. He is called the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

 Manger scene painting
Merry Christmas!
child's surprised face

God Never Gasps

Surprised face

While we panic and run out to stock up on toilet paper because we didn’t see this pandemic coming, we can be reassured God did. God is all-knowing. There are no surprises for Him.

 In October of 2001, I remember sitting at my desk and the phones not ringing for months. The world was still in shock after the 9-11 terrorist attack, and commerce had shut down. My husband and I had just purchased our first home, and his business was still in the toddler stages. No phone calls meant no customers, which meant no income to pay the new mortgage or other incoming bills.

To quote Dickenson, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

I say this because it was the 9-11 realization that evil existed in the world and it was trying to kill us that drove my husband and myself to find God. We warily stepped into church seeking answers, hope, and connection, and God met us at the door like an old friend with open arms.

God didn’t create the terrorist attack, nor did he create the coronavirus, but He will use it for His good. As I look back, I can see how his hand has been preparing things within my sphere of influence behind the scenes.

  • Within the last year, my church felt compelled to launch an online campus. With Massachusetts not allowing gatherings over 25 people, we were able to hold church at home.
  • A year ago, I started writing The Merchant’s Yield, which has a main character who struggles to release the fear of sickness and death to God after moving to an island where disease is prevalent. Little did I know how relevant it would be today, and I’m praying it will get into the hands of people who need encouragement and the message that we can’t live in fear.
  • In the past six months, my husband took on the financial costs of hiring a Chaplin service for our employees who needed prayer, and it has been utilized significantly, especially recently.  

Could these be coincidences? Perhaps. But, then I remember how Jesus stood whipped and beaten to the point of death. He’d been nailed to a cross, experiencing a pain I can’t even imagine, but He called out to the disciple John, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27). While His lifeblood was being poured out for us, He was arranging for the care of his mother, Mary.

God is working. He knows every detail, every need. He doesn’t drop the ball. Evil may work to create chaos, but God turns all things around for His good (Romans 8:28).

We need to seize the opportunity. Now is the time to text, call, or use social media to reach out to those who are scared. We have a chance to be the hands and feet of Christ. God has prepared us for this moment. Fear may rule them, but we know God is in control. The world craves the peace we have, and God has given us an opening to talk freely about our eternal perspective. Now’s our chance to checkmate evil.

“For we are to God, the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” – 2 Corinthians 2:15

Hands holding earth

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River water

Peace like a River

There is nothing worse than the sinking feeling where your stomach seems to flip River at dusk Yellowstone national parkinside out. That weightless pause as if you drove too fast down a steep hill and the blood in your veins halts its progression. Or the cold nervous sweat that tingles your palms and dampens your forehead. It’s the feeling that you’ve entered into a nightmare. Whether it be the dreadful call from the hospital, the text that informs you the relationship is over, the boss that calls you into his office, or even just the split second when you realize you left your cell phone at home. No matter what the source, the feeling is icky.

Unfortunately, we all experience it. We’re going to get bad news. We’re going to screw up. We’re going to have our car break down alone, at night, in the middle of a dark quarry road, with a child waiting for you to pick him up from football practice. (Well, maybe that last one just happens to me.) Even still, bad things are going to happen, but that icky, sinking feeling can be followed by a peace that is beyond comprehension.

Pastor Ernie Frye of Metrowest Ministries calls it, “Peace like a river.” At first, when I heard this, I thought, a river isn’t peaceful. There are rapids, currents, and unseen things beneath the surface. A river’s current can carry you away. But, that’s exactly it. It carries you downstream.

River waterA river has movement. It has a destination. It merges with other rivers for a combined force. God’s peace is not like a stagnant lake. It’s like a river that flows around you and through you. It allows you to be carried through situations and come out on the other side. It is a constant, moving peace that is life-giving and sustains you.

So when tough times come and that icky, palm sweating, heart-clenching, feeling tries to ensnare you in its log jam, call upon the strength of the river. Lean back and let its peace carry you through.

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