For the Love of Christmas: Peace

This Advent devotion may stand alone, but it is also meant to accompany a podcast–For the Love of Christmas: Peace–that I created for Greenwood Community Church. That’s where you’ll find the content behind this devotion. To listen, please follow this link: http://greenwoodcc.libsyn.com/advent-podcast-week-3.

I pray it may be an uplifting and restful interlude of Peace for you in this season of heightened emotion and activity.

I think of what follows as Thoughts for Grace. I hope they help you receive Peace more deeply into your heart.

Consider: The angels, tearing open the night above the shepherds, streaming light, joy, and song from heaven, sang to those humble men the first gift of Christmas: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased,” Luke 2:14.

Peace. It’s the first gift God gives, the first one he slides onto our sleepy lap on Christmas morning.  It’s as if he says, “Here! I can’t wait. Open this one first.” And its peace. Let’s don’t set it aside. Let’s unwrap peace and let it wrap us up.

Imagine: What would it look like for you to receive the gift of peace?

Ask: Ask the Lord to fill you with His peace. Ask Him that “the peace of God, which transcends understanding, might guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 4:7.

C. S. Lewis says the enemy steals our peace by chaining us either to the past or to the future. He does this because, as Lewis tells us, “The Present is the point at which time touches eternity . . . the Present is all lit up with eternal rays.”

Do you find yourself stuck in regret or nostalgia regarding the past or dwelling on the uncertainty of the future?

Prayers to Let go of the Past

Take time to tell God anything that troubles you about the past. If you would be more free if you were able to forgive someone who hurt you, ask God for the grace to forgive. If this is difficult, resolve to seek someone to pray with you about this.

If you are troubled about your own past behavior, take time to confess your regrets to God. Then pray 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to purify us from all unrighteousness.” Receive His forgiveness. Thank Him for forgiving you and for having unlimited forgiveness and mercy in His heart.

Thank God for good times and treasured gifts in your past. Thank Him that He is the same God to you today as He was then and that He will be the same in your tomorrows (Hebrews 13:8). Try to release to Him the past.

The band King and Country has a good song about releasing the past; its called “Burn the Ships.” This link will let you listen: https://open.spotify.com/track/6qNSq6OKjNgXAn3Kj9HBKf?si=wPlWfT_6TGOeCueHO3YBTg

Prayers to Let go of the Future

Ask God to help you close the door to your fears of the future. Can you catch yourself scaring yourself with “What ifs?” Ask Him for help to trust Him with the future. Ask Him to give you hopeful “What ifs?” What if everything turns out well, or even better than you hope?

Take to heart this promise: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11.

Ask God for grace to see His good gifts in every present moment, to see the “eternal rays” lighting up your todays.

Perfect love drives out fear, and the gift of Jesus proves God’s perfect love. So Zechariah sang, “the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace,” Luke 1:79.

A DAILY PRAYER FOR THIS WEEK:

“Lord, please shine your light into my darkness, guiding my feet into the path of peace,” Luke 1:79.

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