Bible Verse: That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Luke 2:8, NLT
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:8–14; John 14:23-29
On the final Sunday before Christmas, we light the 4th candle of Advent — the Peace candle.
There’s a moment on December 24th that I’ve always loved. The shopping missions have ended. The last notes of the Christmas Eve service have faded. The food prep is done for the next day’s feast. The kids are off to their beds so that “Santa” can free the gifts from their hiding place (so he can take all the credit the next day).
Then there comes a pause, ever so brief, usually late at night. It’s peaceful…and the pause is pregnant with possibilities.
I’ve imagined the scene on that first Christmas Eve. The humble shepherds on the open field night-shift camp were protecting their flocks from predators as they did for so many nights of the year. There was probably no more ordinary scene.
But the pause of peace was pregnant with possibilities.
Perhaps no one captured the pause better than a young priest and poet from Austria, Joseph Mohr. It was Christmas Eve, 1818, and he desperately needed a carol for the midnight service. Inspiration had come on a previous wintery night walk as he looked over his quiet town. The peacefulness led to his penning of some appropriate words for worship. He hoped his friend Franz Gruber, a schoolteacher, church choirmaster, and organist, could set the poem to music. Incredibly, in just a few hours, the new collaboration titled “Stille Nacht”— “Silent Night”— was completed and performed for the first time on December 24, 1818. You may know the words:
Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon virgin, mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild.
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Maybe your night is less than picture-perfect peace. For many, Christmas can be more busy, messy, and lonely than peace-filled. For others, this time of year time brings grief, painful memories, and anxiety.
But Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect to be Christmas. The angelic message didn’t come to the powerful, prosperous, or popular that night. It came to the ordinary, underprivileged night shift workers. The announcement of the arrival of an extraordinary child to everyday folk demonstrates God’s steadfast love for all.
Christmas is that time of year when the world takes a collective pause. No matter what your day, week, or year has brought you, good or bad, join the collective pause. It is a perfect time to take a deep breath and thank Him for His gift of peace.
Hear Jesus’ words: “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27, NLT).
Christmas Eve’s pause is still pregnant with possibilities.
Prayer: Lord, in the hustle and bustle of this season, in the pressure, pain, and anxiety, help me to pause and receive Your perfect peace. Amen.
Reflection: On this final week of Advent, before Christmas Eve fades, pause and thank Him for His gift of peace. If someone you know needs the peace of God today, take a moment and pray for them personally and specifically.
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