Yesterday was the first day of the Advent season. Advent is a season of waiting. Waiting takes patience. Waiting makes us slow down. Waiting makes us stop for a moment in the midst of our hurried up lives. Waiting gives us pause. Since Advent is a season of waiting, it is also a season of reflection.
But…you knew there was one coming didn’t you? But…we have filled this season of waiting with the hustle and bustle of shopping, decorating, parties, and everything thing else. So instead of taking the time our bodies, our very souls desperately need, we are scurrying around trying to get too much done in too little time. We are not doing ourselves any favors.
You see, Advent, this season of waiting, begs us to slow down and to give ourselves time apart. Jesus modeled this throughout his ministry. Jesus always took time after a hectic schedule to go to the lonely places. It was there Jesus would connect with God the Father and be refreshed. It was in being refreshed Jesus would have more to give to the people he was teaching, preaching, healing, and loving. It was in going to the lonely places where Jesus could be one with the Father. It was in being one with the Father that Jesus could offer a peaceful presence in the face of much opposition.
Peace the first theme in Advent. Question: “How peaceful are you?” If you can honestly answer I am always at peace, then I want to know your secret! But if you are like most people, I would say your answer could be anywhere from “I am a fairly peaceful person” to “I have no peace.” So in this season of Advent…in this first week that highlights peace…I would encourage you to take time each day to find a quiet space and go to God in prayer lifting up all those things that shatter the peace we crave…we need…we desire. It is also recognizing that God’s peace may be different than how we define peace.
In John 14:27, Jesus taught: “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.” The precious gift of peace is one that will allow us to be calm in the midst of storms, be comforted in the midst of trials, be brave in the midst of fear. Because the peace we need isn’t one of perfect days. It is instead the quiet assurance that no matter what we are going through, no matter what life has thrown at us, God will go through it with us and we can find peace in the whirlwind.
My wish for you all this season is that you are able to find the peace only God can give in the midst of the commercialized rush of Christmas.