When we think of peace, we might think of the absence of war, or the absence of terror, or trouble, or violence, grief and fear, or heartache. But, the truth is, peace is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of God! What pain are you facing this season? What struggles are weighing you down? What stress is stirring up chaos in your spirit or anxiety in your soul? Maybe those pressures and problems are external; maybe they’re internal. Either way, opening your heart to the Presence of Jesus through the Holy Spirit is the only way to have true inner peace! True peace is never separated from the realities of life but dwells in the midst of the storm, noise and chaos.

Consider Mary for a moment. In the midst of all that was happening that first Christmas, we’re told that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). On the surface, Mary’s life had not become more peaceful. If anything, things got even crazier with the announcement of her miraculous pregnancy and the birth of a baby and the flight to Egypt to hide the Christ-child from King Herod. But Mary was learning to trust the One who was in control. When we surrender control and stop worrying, stop striving, stop manipulating, then we will find rest in Him. The inner and outer chaos, anxiety, noise, and busyness of life may not change, but we can experience peace because we trust the One who has control. Where do you need to surrender and enter the journey of peace this Advent Season? How can you let go of the things that are stressing you out about Christmas or about your kids, your finances or health? This is a time of Good News and Great Joy… a journey to hope, love, joy and peace.

Let’s confess that our lives are often far from peaceful. We’re anxious and worried by all kinds of things: our kids, money, church deficit, health, aging parents. You name it – you or somebody you know is worrying about it. Let the words of Jesus wash over us and through us. His words are soothing… calming. Peace. Be still. Peace. Be Still. Don’t let the world’s definition of Christmas overshadow the peace that has been birthed in you by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)!    Pastor Randy

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