Monthly Archives: December 2013

Take His Peace

{Advent Greetings. It has been so long, too long, since I have written anything. These past few months have been incredibly busy, which explains but does not excuse the long absence from this blog. I did want to return for the holidays, though. Here is a little something that is excerpted from a book I wrote for Advent. The book is called The Journey to Christmas. Hope you enjoy.}

The season of Advent is often such a hurried, busy time. I often think: What have we done to ourselves. We have not only robbed this time of its spiritual significance, but we have also robbed it of its joy and peacefulness. What should be a time of quiet reflection and meditation has become rushed and “care-full.”

Even as I write this, I feel little peace, and lots of anxiety. I am getting ready for an upcoming event here at the office—an event I am in charge of and must plan. I am scheduled to preach in a local church on Sunday—and it is Thursday morning and right now I don’t have the vaguest idea what I am going to speak on. I feel pressured by all the duties and responsibilities of my job… not to mention family, shopping, planning parties, and all the other “obligations” attached to this time of the year. I am not quiet in my mind, and I am not at peace.

Yet, I should be. Advent forces us to focus on the meaning of life, the purposes of God, the promises of the Savior. One of these promises (and prophecies) is that He will be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). He rules in peace. He grants peace. His reign is (and will ever be) a rule of peace. His future millennial kingdom is often depicted in art as the “peaceable kingdom.” So, if He is the Prince of Peace, and I am His, His child, should not His peace rule in my heart. What’s the problem? The problem is not with Him—it’s with me. I allow things, events, people to rob me of His peace.

I remember that years ago Bill and Gloria Gaither recorded a dramatic reading set to music. It was called “Take His Peace.” I have often thought of those words, especially the verb in that phrase. For there is a great truth here. If I am to have the peace of God ruling in my heart, I must choose to take His peace. He is the Lord of Peace (Yahweh Shalom). He offers peace. His peace is available through His grace. But I must choose to take it.

And…

I must choose to take it even if what surrounds me does not lend itself to peacefulness. Indeed, it is in such times that I MUST even more emphatically choose to take His peace.

Consider this bit of ecclesiastical trivia: In the Eastern Orthodox Church today is the feast of the prophet Habakkuk. Habakkuk understood what it was like to live in troubled times. Indeed, his book is basically focused on dialoguing with God about things the prophet doesn’t understand. Yet, when we get to the conclusion of the matter, we heard some incredibly profound and powerfully moving words. Listen to the prophet:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
(Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV)

Habakkuk discovered this great truth. Our focus must be on God, not circumstance. That is the way to peace—and to worship.

So in this Advent season, with all the external busyness, frustration, worry and anxiety… let us each strive internally to take and enjoy His peace. Remember, it is the free gift of the Prince of Peace Himself.