Chaos swirls around us in gigantic, glittery fanfare daring us not to look. It comes in the form of financial burdens, marriage implosions, family heartache, work upheavals and terrorist wreckage. Chaos taunts us when we overschedule, underperform, feel lost or attempt a needed change to our life. Chaos is attention starved. It’ll do anything possible to keep our eyes and minds fixed on it: fill us with worry, feed us lies of worthlessness and bully us into staying status quo. It’ll plant seeds of doubt and pervade us with fear.
But, you and I. We have an opportunity. A great possibility to keep our gaze, not fixed on chaos, but on Christ. Christ, the Prince of Peace. The one who says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
How can our hearts NOT be troubled when chaos is the obnoxious, uninvited guest bungling into our lives day after day? How can we NOT be afraid when chaos has us believing that his hell is winning the battle? I don’t have answers to these tough questions. I only know that for me, it is only by staying connected to the One True Vine (John 15) that I have a remote chance. John 15 tells us when we remain in Christ, He will remain in us. When we are connected to God’s love, we will sow love into the world. If we are NOT connected to God’s love, we will not be able to bear this fruit of the Spirit.
It’s when we stay connected to God, we are gifted with His peace. So, how do we stay connected to God? This is a personal question with an array of possibilities. There is no one “right” way to connect with God. But, we need to be diligent in taking the time to consider what it may look like for us individually. Currently for me, it’s the time I take to journal each day that aids me in this connection. When journaling takes a back seat, my day is bleaker and I get weary quick. However, in the past, I have experienced loving connection through reading books about God, Scripture, Spirit-filled conversation or taking walks outside. The Spirit of God is expansive and moves and changes as our lives move and change.
Once we are linked with God, how do we know we have the gift of sacred peace? Is Holy peace simply a quiet moment? An absence of conflict? A world where we honor each others’ cultures, traditions and differences in loving dialogue? We may certainly experience God’s peace in these ways.
However, I’m more inclined to say that the peace of God is a deep knowing of Jesus’s presence within and around whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. Jesus is not a God who chooses sides, but a God who breathes life, love, vibrancy and thriving in Him. Jesus is a God of deep compassion able to see the breaking hearts of every individual, with mercy for all.
Jesus’ peace finds us when chaos rushes through our door dumping its’ load of garbage at our feet and we take a deep breath and remember, “Christ, you’ve known all along this was headed my way; you know where this is leading and I will continue to trust your goodness.” Jesus’ peace arrives when we let go of the reigns of control, sit back and watch life unfold knowing we are but one player in a universe of players. Jesus’ peace covers us when we recall there is one greater than you and I at work in the world and we are only seeing one tiny speck in a kaleidoscope of vast colors.
This Advent week celebrating Christ’s peace, may you keep your focus, not on chaos, but on Christ. Christ, who came as a baby to show us that peace reigns, mercy prevails, and His grace blankets each of us. You are loved. May you stand firm in the love of Christ as you go about each minute of your day. Amen.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” John 15:1-8
Think of a time when you felt particularly close to Christ. What were the circumstances? Was anything helping you to “remain” connected to Christ during that time? Consider re-implementing this into your life.
Name a time when you experienced peace in a difficult situation.
When chaos arrives, try breathing
(inhale) Lord, have mercy
(exhale) Christ, have mercy