ADVENT CONNECTIONS: The Peace of His Presence

With many of our children away on Christmas Day or shortly after, we went and picked out our live Christmas tree early this year.  How I love to snuggle down with a hot drink in front of the lit Christmas tree with the strains of Christmas worship music playing in the background.  What peace and quiet . . . it’s pure bliss!  I feel such calm and tranquillity and everything is good.  That is, until the shrill ringing of the phone breaks through my reverie and the hectic demands of family and life present themselves once again.  Truly, what is lasting peace, and is it really possible to know and to have peace?

The clear and resounding answer declared from the heavens is YES!  For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given . . . And he will be called . . . Mighty God . . . Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.  He will reign . . . Isaiah 9:6-7 Everyone is looking for peace.  God’s Word tells us that peace is only found through the presence of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, who entered our world and who has established his reign forever.  Peace does not depend on my outward circumstances, but only comes from abiding in the One who offers a true inner peace.

The angel announced the coming of Christ to the “troubled” Mary, the heartbroken Joseph, and the “terrified” shepherds with the words, “Do not be afraid.”  For God was sending the precious gift of His Son Jesus:  Immanuel–“God with us.”  Jesus brings peace through His presence, amidst the storms of life.  Once Jesus spoke to a storm and stilled it, but on another occasion in the midst of the fears of his friends, he said simply, “I’m here.  Take courage.  Don’t be afraid.”  (Mt. 14:27)  So Jesus does not necessarily remove all our storms, but he is present with us in them.  Praise God!

This past year as I have walked through some dark valleys, when my heart and mind have felt overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, I have turned in prayer to God and His Word and have experienced the blessing of his peace dispelling my fears.  I am reminded from his Word that He loves me and that he reigns over every aspect of my life; nothing catches Him by surprise!  There are many verses that have been especially meaningful to me as I continue to wait on God and experience an ever-deepening peace as I trust and rely on the Prince of Peace.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you . . . For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; . . . You are precious and honored in my sight, and . . . I love you . . . Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”  Isaiah 43:1-5

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 4:6-7

Paul couples prayer inseparably with a peace that passes understanding.  It is through prayer and a grateful heart that Christ gives us victory over our fears and worries, and blesses us with his peace that passes all understanding. He truly IS the Prince of Peace!

Prayer: Father, I thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus, who brings reconciliation, peace, and hope to our world and to my heart.  Thank you, Father, that your peace is one of the precious gifts of my covenant relationship with you.  I praise you, Lord, the Prince of Peace!

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,

yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken

nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:10

Contributed by Heather Beadle