advent, christmas, joy, Uncategorized

Day 22 – Candle of PEACE – JBA

Deep breath.

How about we do that again.

Deep(er) breath.

That’s a little better. Now it’s time to light our 4th candle – the candle of peace. Isn’t it pretty? I just want to sit here and look at it…

Tuesday is the last day of advent, and it isn’t lost on me that today we are led to dwell on the gift of peace. It’s like the Lord knew something about human nature (go figure).

There is something in us that feels the need to work, strive, and busy ourselves when we know something is coming. To be deserving of whatever good may be coming our way. So when the angel appeared to declare the arrival of the new born King, the message was,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

Peace to those on whom his favor rests. Did you know that’s you?

No, really. You are favored by God. And the Lord wanted all of us to know that with the gift of the Savior comes peace. We don’t need to earn the gift. In fact, we couldn’t even if we tried. That’s why he came – we needed it, didn’t deserve it, and couldn’t earn it. So it had to be a gift. And gifts are free.

I need this message today, not because I’ve been working my butt off and have nothing left to contribute to the celebration, nope, that was last year. This year my Christmas is very different.

This is the first year is decades that I have not been stretched, exhausted, and screeching into the home stretch with smoke coming from my breaks. So I am wrestling with something else. Guilt. Guilt for NOT working so hard! Guilt for not accomplishing all the things I wanted to because I don’t have the excuse of being busy this year. Guilt because the performer and achiever in me works hard for her applause…how can their be favor without the effort?

No matter what side we fall on, the crazy hustle and bustle or the silent nights when no creatures stir, our human hearts struggle to feel worthy of receiving the GIFT of love, joy, or peace.  And let me say it again….

gifts are free.

So, today, I am going to let that truth sink in, centering my attention on the declaration of peace that comes with the gift. It was the gift of peace that the angels gave the shepherds before they took off to go see for themselves. Yes, there is a lot to do. Yes, there is a lot to experience, but we are to do it with PEACE.

No matter what your season has been so far, let’s honor the Lord by not making this season about earning.  After all, the giver wants the receiver to enjoy the gift! There is not a long list of qualifications attached to the gift of peace. Just one. Receive it. Of course, we can have fun and celebrate, but if it becomes about everything else but the celebration of His love and the (free) gift of his peace and favor, what are we celebrating!?

So, today, I bless you to breathe in the favor and let the gift of peace that comes with it fill you. Hold it. Hold it in. Don’t let it out, but give it away. Be filled with peace and then gift that peace to others this Christmas. You have the power to change the atmosphere around you. Your home can be peaceful. Your work can be peaceful. Your soul can be peaceful.

You are highly favored – now go in peace.

Season

Joy Bringer’s Advent

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