Advent Study 2020

Sharing Our Stories: December 23

Writer’s Name: Stan Hoover

Writer’s Ministry:  Leadership Development Team Chair

Assigned Text:  John 1:9-18

Word of the Week: Peace

The flocks of migrating red-winged blackbirds are now gone. A gaggle of geese angles across the sky. Hundreds of black walnuts have been gathered, laboriously hulled and are now drying in the sun. A final harvesting of vegetables from the ample garden are complete. The last of fallen leaves are now removed from the yard, and a light new snow is silently covering the ground.

Fond memories of the tranquil sights and sounds of my childhood in a home set on the side of a wooded hill in northern Indiana are always with me. Even now those thoughts help me fall asleep at night. The humble house on a few acres along a gravel road had been constructed on hewn logs, and there I learned to work alongside my dad in remodeling the old place into a refuge of delight and comfort. Mom taught me about wildlife, trees, and gardening.

For me, the early 1960s granted fulfillment and opportunity. Though my parents surely were aware from the daily news of a Cold War, nuclear threat, racial struggles, and political conflict, I was safe and at peace.

Angels declared to shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Jesus is the answer to troubled hearts. He gives us hope in the face of bad news. Faith in Jesus saves us and grants us peace. The God of Peace transcends all our understanding and anxieties.

Peace and contentment do not come without effort, work, and sacrifice. It is not a promise of luxury and isolation from a world of conflict. God is not passive. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.” Romans 6:20. David said, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.”

God’s peace grants us opportunity to live and work with courage in this troubled world and through our labor bring goodwill to people around us. Unrest may be everywhere, but our hearts can rejoice in peace through Jesus.

Daily Prayer: Dear God of Peace, thank you for the calmness in my heart as my faith remains in you. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. What images of peace come to mind?
  2. What events or efforts generated that peace?
  3. List the concerns or fears you are facing now.
  4. What steps in faith with the Lord can you take to bring peace?

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