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The candle on the Advent wreath is pink on the third Sunday in Advent. In a dark season of preparation and repentance, it is often called Joy. We need a break. We need a glimpse of the light, even as we prepare for God’s Light to enter the world.
While this devotion is not brand-new, it seems like a good one to share now, on a cold, dim Sunday in December:
As a college student on an off-season vacation with my two best girlfriends, in the midst of a touristy island town, a peaceful afternoon on a quiet beach seemed irresistible, despite having to drive on the left hand side of the road to get there. Anxious but determined, I volunteered to drive. My friends were happy to let me. Even the rental car agent looked at us a bit dubiously as he handed over the keys.
The narrow winding road lived up to its reputation. With sweaty palms gripping the steering wheel, I crept up the mountain, carefully focusing my mind on staying to the left. Mirrors were bolted into the rock at the sharpest turns to show oncoming traffic. I could feel my heart banging into my breastbone as a large truck appeared in the mirror and roared past on our right. I said an inward prayer and forced myself to keep my eyes on the road, even while my friends pointed out the various vehicle parts that could be seen on the mountainside below us. One was almost a whole car.
When we finally arrived, I was more than ready for my afternoon of peace. Admittedly, the beach was better than we expected. The sand was soft, the water was turquoise, and except for us, and one or two others, it was entirely deserted. However, when it was time to leave, we had to prepare ourselves for another teeth-grinding trip back up and down that mountain to get back to town.
When I am not careful to focus my mind on Christ, the worries and cares in my life today can be like that long ago trip to the beach. Some challenge comes, then the anxiety. There’s a time of calm when that issue is resolved, followed by more stress about the next problem. The good news is that Jesus invites us to get off of the rollercoaster of worry.
Jesus never promised that we wouldn’t have problems, but He did mean for his children to have peace. Before going to the cross, Jesus told his disciples,
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let you hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. John 14:27
Because Jesus overcame sin and death, and rose with all power, we can trust Him to keep us “in perfect peace.” Isaiah 26:3
The peace of God is much more than a temporary absence of strife, having enough to get by for now, or a brief time of pleasure. It’s an inward rest and quietness that comes from the Holy Spirit, and the knowledge that God sees us, and he already knows what we are going through.
“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 minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4: 6-7)