Today is the Fourth, and final, Sunday in Advent. It’s time to take out your worksheet and after reading this post, spend 10-15 minutes interacting with these ideas. (Download the worksheet in Letter or A4)
How do we not grow anxious about the brokenness we experience in our everyday life and in the world? I confess it’s been a challenging few years watching friends struggle with cancer, wrestling in prayer for leaders who desire power over humility, grieving the loss of loved ones and more. Sometimes the weight of suffering, pain, and injustice feels overwhelming. Each Advent I find it ironic that my prayers often sound just like that of Israel’s in wait of a savior, “How long O’ Lord?” The paradox of this prayer is that it seems a cry of despair, but in truth it is an age-old prayer of hope. It is a call for God to complete what he’s promised to do. It is the hopeful prayer of all the saints before us, and one we will continue to pray until the fulfillment of time.
As I write this today on All Saints Day, I am reminded of Julian of Norwich who is famous for saying, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” In the midst of the bubonic plague, nearing death herself, and the world turned upside down, Julian had a confident assurance that no matter what befell her in the world, God would always remain Lord of all and continue to be ever attentive to his creation. In Advent, we can prepare ourselves to live confidently with inner peace and assurance that Christ has made all things well and he will continue to do so.
Consider this prophetic word from Micah 5:4-5 (NIV)
He will stand and shepherd his flock
in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they will live securely, for then his greatness
will reach to the ends of the earth.
And he will be our peace.
In our final week of Advent, we light the candle of peace. As you meditate on Psalm 130 in preparation for Christmas, imagine God’s peace flooding your body, feel God’s presence and peace with you as we prepare to welcome Emmanuel. What do you hope for on Christmas morning? Where will you expect to experience delight, joy, hope, love, peace, and assurance as you live with fortitude and compassion while standing firm with confident assurance because Christ is with us?
Psalm 130:5-7 (NIV)
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
If peace is a grace you need from the Holy Spirit this Advent, I encourage you to pray more with these passages: Colossians 3:15-16, Philippians 4:6-8, 1 John 5:13-15. Where do you notice the peace of Christ in scripture? What promises are here for you today? Ask God for what you need in order to experience his peace.
Thank you for participating in this Global Trellis Advent Series. We know that Advent is “A Season of Preparation” and have spent the last four Sundays asking “What are we to prepare for?” It is our hope and prayer that God has used this series to prepare you to live with fortitude and compassion while standing firm with confident assurance because Christ is with you.
We’ve also created a short worksheet for each week, so that you can interact with the material instead of merely reading it. Each worksheet should take 10-15 minutes (or more if you want!).
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