A couple of Sundays ago, I was asked if our family would participate in reading and lighting the advent candle for the following Sunday. Sure. Why not. Read a short passage, light a candle, No problem! Except when you forget and are reminded as you walk in. Oh, yeah. No problem. What are we supposed to read?? Thankfully, I was handed the short passage to read. I turned to my kids and asked if someone would want to read the passage. The response was an overwhelming no thanks! Okay, fine. I’ll read it. Who wants to light the candle. My three kids turned to each other and did rock, paper, scissors to determine who would like the candle!! Very reverent of us!! Oh, one quick question, when do we do this?? (So not prepared and a little rattled!) We took our seats and worked out the details as best you can with 3 teenagers who are not that great at listening! Shockingly, we went up at the right time, read the passage without a stutter and lit the candle with no lighter false starts. Thank you, Jesus!
Part of the irony in all of this, is the Advent focus was on the “Prince of Peace.” Jesus is our Prince of Peace. Jesus, the One born in the middle of chaos, is our Prince of Peace. His parents made a mad dash back to Joseph’s hometown, they checked Travelocity for ANY room that was available and found they were all booked, Mary is about to pop, miserable and Joseph wants to get his wife off the donkey and settled in a nice, soft bed. Instead, the only thing available is the barn. Barely a barn at that! Cows and sheep had to be shooed out of a stall, the chickens placed somewhere else to lay their eggs, the straw needed to be removed and fresh put down. Where are the baby monitors and calming nurses and doctors to say when to push. Nowhere to be found! Anyone not certified or trained help deliver a baby? Joseph was it! Ladies, can you imagine looking at your husband and saying, get ready, here He comes. Don’t drop HIm!” Not a chance!! Where are the soft blankets and cute little hats and mittens to keep them warm? Mary had extra pieces of fabric, not sterilized, to wrap her precious son up in to keep Him warm and toasty. It’s the middle of the night, in an unfamiliar town, filled with unfamiliar people, hanging out with the livestock and having a baby. Sounds perfectly normal. No need to panic, feel anxiety or alone. Yeah, right!! Jesus, our Prince of Peace, born in the middle of chaos, is our calm in the storm. He is our safe place, shelter, provider, the peace of our soul in the chaos around us.
In our family, we love babies! There are 5 grandkids in our family. Anytime we showed up at “Grandma and Papaw’s” house, it was all about the babies! They would meet us in the driveway, take them out of their car seats and whisk them into the house, leaving us parents in the driveway saying, “Hi Mom. Hi Dad. Good to see you too!” When I became Auntie M, I was just as bad. I’d swoop my nephew or niece up, hold them close, look them in the eyes and start talking and playing with them. Everything and everyone else disappeared. It was just me and my sweet nephew or niece.
I am rereading “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” By: W. Phillip Keller. It’s a good read and an enlightening perspective of Psalm 23. The first part of verse 2 states, “He lets me rest in green meadows,” In order for sheep to “rest” and lie down, they have to be at peace. If there is any type of irritation or discontentment, the sheep are on their feet in constant motion. It isn’t until the sheep are freed from fear, friction, pests and hunger before they can have peace and lie down and rest. How true that is for us humans, too! Our Shepherd relieves us from our fears, frictions, pests and hunger so we can truly rest our bodies, minds and souls in the Presence of His Peace. The author states, “When my eyes are on my Master they are not on those around me. This is the place of peace.” When my eyes are on Jesus, my Prince of Peace, all else fades away. He is all I see and I am the only one He is looking at and focusing on. He is holding me securely in His hands, speaking kindness into my heart, interacting with pleasure and contentment, just Him and I, no one else. Just hanging out with my Prince of Peace. (Enter a sigh of relief and release of all panic and anxiety.)
Even though I had a couple of seconds of panic when I realized I forgot that I agreed to participating in our Advent service, my Prince of Peace walked with me as we figured out the details, who was reading, lighting the candle, where to stand and when to light the candle. My Prince of Peace pushed aside the panic and infused peace and confidence in knowing He was right there with me. Thank you, my Prince of Peace.
Jesus was born and lived HIs life, in this world, amidst chaos. One of His many precious gifts He gives us is the gift of peace. Go ahead, take the gift. He wants you to have it. He yearns for you to accept and open His gift of peace. The gift is for you from your Prince of Peace.
Have a very Merry Christmas. Your Prince of Peace is excitedly anticipating your presence with HIm.
Thanks for sharing a moment with me. We are in this, peacefully together, in Him.