Joy and Peace – Week of November 28, 2022
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
I hope I planned it just right. While my class was gone for Thanksgiving break, I pulled out my Christmas tree and lights. I found the ornaments, tinsel, and candy canes for them to hang on the tree. I got out my special Advent calendar to help us count down to Christmas. I planned special projects and songs. I hope that when my little ones walk into our classroom, they are filled with Christmas joy.
Joy: what a wonderful Christmas word! When the apostle Paul wrote these words to the Philippians he was imprisoned in Rome, and yet, throughout his letter, he repeatedly used the words joy and rejoice. Paul knew something that gave him joy. He exclaimed, “The Lord is near.” No matter what our situation, we have that same knowledge. Jesus is near. That’s what we look forward to each Christmas and throughout the year. Jesus gave up his heavenly throne to be born in a stable so that he could be near us. He lived for us and ultimately died for us. And even now he is with us, guiding us. Yes, we have joy!
Knowing that Jesus is near gives us reason to be gentle. Jesus has always been kind and loving to us, in spite of our disobedience and sin. Now we look to each other. We find gentle words to comfort and encourage. We forgive and work together to restore joy. And when anxiety and worry strike, we encourage each other in Jesus’ almighty power and everlasting love. We bring our cares and concerns to God and thank him for the many blessings he showers on us.
And don’t forget another beloved Christmas word: peace. That’s what Jesus brought when he was born. He brought the peace of knowing that we have forgiveness for every sin, big and small. He brought the peace of knowing we have his unconditional love every day of our lives. And when the world is anything but peaceful, we know the Savior is on our side. He will take us to the perfect land of peace, where we will be with him forever.
I have a feeling that I’ll hear some squeals of joy as the children see the tree and hang the ornaments. I pray they’ll feel the peace of their Savior as we ponder the Christmas story. This Advent season, may you revel in the joy and peace only our Savior can bring.
Dear Jesus, you are the source of my joy and peace. Help me savor all you have done for me and share the joy and peace you bring with those around me. I love you, Jesus. Amen.
Hymns to Consider:
Christian Worship 21 330 Peace Came to Earth
Christian Worship 21 356 God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
Christian Worship 21 363/93 34: Now Sing We, Now Rejoice