Advent Musings Series: Let’s unpack HOPE, LOVE, JOY, and PEACE this 2020 Christmas! Come and ponder with me these unchanging truths in a chaotic world. If you have young children, I think you will enjoy the activity provided at the end of each advent musing—a way to celebrate with them God’s timeless promises. Advent defined: The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event; appearance, emergence, dawn, birth; the coming or second coming of Christ. As we remember His first coming with awe, let’s hold hands together figuratively as we yearn for that time when He comes again and makes all things right.
With hope, love, joy, and peace, Sharon
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6 NIV (emphasis mine)
This world is not a peaceful place. Modern technology enables us to know in fact, not just in theory, that cruel and horrible acts happen just about all the time all over the world. This year, in particular, has been anything but peaceful, hasn’t it? We have instant access to the latest pandemic statistics. We watch riots and competing political views on our screens and as we scroll social media posts. We see mind-numbing pictures of refugees fleeing for their lives with nothing, homes flattened by fire or flood, victims of violence. Unless we have the gift of self-control in abundance and are able to turn off that technology for periods of time, we are barraged in a disturbing and frightening frequency by the ugly truth that our world is a mess. If ever there were a messy year, 2020 would be that year.
How do we take hold of peace in the midst of all this?
- Remember that there will come a time, one we are longing for, when “the government will be on His shoulders.” Someday, Jesus will reign. His reign will be perfect and, finally, there will be a rest from the festering consequences of sinful hearts perpetrating reprehensible actions. I long for the day when—truly—justice will reign and peace will be a reality.
- Unplug that technology for seasons of “Selah.” Selah means to pause ... to stop ... to ponder. There is a time for everything. A time to learn what is going on in our world, to effect change as God calls us, to grieve with those who are hurting, practically helping through prayer and finances and time and service. There is also a time for stopping. We are better equipped to serve when we have spent time with the Prince of Peace.
Here are some suggestions for “Selah”:
- Consider bookending your day with a technology-free hour at the beginning and the end. Make it a time when you meet with God, read a good book, take a walk, decompress.
- Consider a “lunch break” or a “focus on my people” time each day when the cell phone is tucked away and the computer is shut down. Be “all there” with those you love. The technology will wait.
- Spend time quietly listening and speaking to the God who made you. Read His words in His Word. Slow down enough to process what you have read. Run to Him with problems. Run to Him with a desire to rest. He calls us, “Come to Me.” Let’s do that.
- Don’t wait for your work to be done. It will not be. Take time to be still. Christmas is quickly approaching. Do you have a tree? Christmas lights? A simple candle you could light? Sit quietly with all lights off except those Christmas lights and just “be.” Remember the Light of the World. Marvel that He shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome Him. Whisper your love to Him. Recite His Names: Wonderful. Counselor. Mighty. Simply being with the Prince of Peace will bless you with peace.
Adore: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, thank You for making Yourself known to me. Thank You for creating me for Your pleasure, because of Your great, wide love. Thank You for the time ahead when You will reign and the governing of this world will be on Your shoulders. Even now, You are the Sovereign God, moving me toward the end of this world and the beginning of the new one. I adore You. Amen.
Ask: Lord, please help me find time to sit still and just “be” in Your Presence. Forgive me for the lack of self-control that makes it hard for me to stop. Help me to set good limits on technology. Guide me and show me the way to times of genuine peace and rest. Thank You that You long for me to take time with You. In Jesus’ Name, Prince of Peace, Amen.
Act: Help me, Lord, when I see and hear of tragedies, to hear Your voice. Show me the ones for whom You are calling me to be Your hands and feet, serving with my time or money. Reveal to me the ones for whom You are calling me to be in earnest prayer, lifting them up regularly. Keep me from the enemy of my soul, who tries to tell me I need to meet every need myself and who condemns me when I can’t. Show me Your plans for me and help me to hear You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Activities for Children: Light the first advent candle and remind your children that our hope in Jesus is sure. Light the second candle and remind your children that Jesus loves them, and we are to love others. Light the third candle and set off your noisemakers again for a few seconds, reminding them that knowing Jesus is joy-filled—and sometimes makes you so happy you have to shout! Light the fourth candle and then turn off all the other lights. Tell your children that peace comes when no one is angry, when there is kindness, and that Jesus can give you peace in your heart even in a storm. Tell them that, when Jesus comes back again, we will all be kind to each other, and we will want to make others happy. We won’t be crabby even on the inside. We’ll simply be happily ourselves. Then, as you look at the candles, play a whisper game and see how quiet everyone can be. Ask them questions in a whisper and see who can answer the softest and still be heard: “Do you wish you could be a wise man? Or a shepherd at the manger?” “Do you think the innkeeper was sad he had no room for Jesus?” “If the animals in the stable could talk, what do you think they’d say?” Then pray a whispered prayer, thanking God for Jesus who brings us peace and helps us to love each other.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service
To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)
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