Light two candles…begin your prayer time by lighting the first purple candle, the Hope candle and the second purple candle. The “Peace” candle…or the Prophecy candle…
READ: Isaiah 40: 1-11
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
and gently lead the mother sheep.
What does Peace mean to you? Does it mean the absence of war? The absence of conflict? The absence of pain?
Jerusalem has fallen. Exiles have fled. The first 40 chapters of this book of Isaiah share the story of a rebellious people and their judgement. In rebellion there is not peace, for peace comes from knowing that God is turned toward us, seeking us out. Peace comes from knowing that God is with us.
This week, I heard someone say, “I don’t want to purchase my daughter gifts. I just want to cuddle and love on her during our entire holiday. I want that to be our Christmas.” This time of year, Advent, when we wait for the peace of the Lord, when we wait for the promised Lamb of God, peace is often far from our hearts.
The parties and presents and decorations and baking and wrapping and…..we grow weary. Tired. We find ourselves in the wilderness and begin wishing “Christmas” away one party or event at a time.
The exiles from Jerusalem wandered in the “wilderness.” They worked their way home through the dessert of life that moved them back toward God…the opposite of rebellion…back toward peace…the opposite of lost…back toward comfort.
And where is God?
Never gone. They were never abandoned, even in their judgement. God is with them, feeding the flock like a shepherd, gathering the lambs into his arms, and leading them…gently…God’s sheep…
This is how God leads us. A shepherd, gathering us up into his arms and gently guiding us…again and again back to him. Here is where peace is found. Here is comfort. Slow down. Breathe. Know that God is with you. Peace
Our Lord and Shepherd, you led the exiles and you continue to lead us today. You, and only you, bring peace. Comfort does not come from opening presents or the busyness of parties. Comfort comes from knowing that you are with us. Teach us to wait in peace…trusting in your promise. Amen
This about a time when you truly felt at peace. What was at the center of that? Share with a friend or in the comments below.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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