“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Just as the Christmas season is characterized by expressions like “Joy to the World”, “Peace on Earth”, and “Resting, Merry Gentlemen”, for many of us, it is also filled with a flood of unpleasant emotions... Stress, Grief, Anxiety, and Fear. The dynamics of family, the burdens of finances, the absence of loved ones, and the uncertainty of the future can make the holidays something we dread rather than look forward to. We often avoid playing the Scrooge by suppressing these emotions, trying to hide our worries beneath the busyness and buying. We celebrate Advent with smiles on our faces, all the while, ignoring the turmoil in our hearts.
Advent is not about forgetting about our fears and focusing on Christ’s coming. No, Advent is about Christ entering our world of unpleasant emotions and taking our anxieties, burdens, and fears upon himself. The Apostle Paul encourages us not to be anxious about anything but to instead bring everything to God in prayer. I used to find this verse of Scripture to come across as trite and super-simplistic Christianese, as if prayer was a magical utterance that would take away all my worries. But Paul is not teaching us that prayer is the answer to anything that makes us anxious... He is teaching us that the peace of God in Christ Jesus reaches into every part of our lives—including our anxiety. Prayer is a means by which we allow God’s peace to rule in our hearts.
Jesus Christ came at Christmas to a world in turmoil, and he came proclaiming peace to people who had real fears, burdens, and pains. So today, he welcomes us into his presence to be honest and let our requests be known to him in prayer... And God promises us his peace, a peace that guards our hearts and minds even when life doesn’t make sense. During Advent, we look forward to the day when Christ will establish his perfect rule on the earth, but until that day, may we allow him to establish his perfect peace in us.
So, don’t leave your troubles behind as we journey to the manger... Bring them to our Savior.
That’s why he came... and that’s a reason to celebrate.
The Frey Life
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"May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word." Psalm 119:74