Fourth Sunday in Advent...Peace


"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."
~Jesus (John 14.27)

 Jesus speaks parting words to his beloved disciples. Similar to the words throughout the Christmas story...Jesus invites them toward trust, which always the gateway to peace. Essentially Jesus is saying, "Regardless of what this all looks and feels like (i.e. it really doesn't make any logical sense and seems messy),  you do not need to be afraid."

Oh, into how many of my messy, seemingly unpeaceful life situations do I need to receive these words?

Jesus does not give like the world gives...

His giving isn't commercialized nor advertised (except often so poorly by our own lives or tacky church signage) and especially not discounted. There are no coupons - except maybe the one that says, "Free." (There is no fine print on that coupon either.)

His giving is neither manipulative nor monopolizing - there are not strings attached. No hidden fees, no obligations.

His giving costs nothing but our opening our hearts to receive.

He gives what we all long for:

Peace: wholeness/wellness/settledness.

I love how Eugene Peterson translates this in The Message:

I'm leaving you well and whole. 
That's my parting gift to you. 
Peace. 
I don't leave you the way you're used to being left—
feeling abandoned, bereft. 
So don't be upset. Don't be distraught. 

For reflection:
  • In what areas of your life do you need wellness or wholeness?
  • Are there any places where you feel abandoned or bereft?
  • What would it look like to invite Jesus into that space?
  • He gives not as the world gives...so we are to receive not as the world receives...what might that receiving look like in your current reality?
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