The Joy of Advent: Day Four
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Phil. 4: 4-7
If there has been a theme to the 2012, or a passage that has been constantly put in front of me, it is this one in Phil. 4 and I don’t think that there is a better time of year to spend a day focused on these verses.
It’s supposed to be 65 degrees in Nashville today, we are in the middle of a bunch of boxes, there have been a lot of birthday celebrations going, and in the midst of this it hasn’t remotely felt like Christmas – at least not in the traditional, sentimental aspects – but when I read this passage this week, when I have been thinking about it, I keep hearing this phrase:
“The Lord is near”
The Lord is near. He knows. He’s coming. This peace of God is will guard our hearts, protecting us from the busyness, the stress, the distractions, the value we have placed in other things, and because of this peace, because God knows that we default to anxiousness, we rejoice. We find joy and delight in the Lord. In his coming as a baby. In his death on the cross. In his conquering of death. We rejoice when we find anxiety creeping in, when we feel those tugs to be pulled back in the darkness, we rejoice in a God who is close.
The wise men saw the star and they rejoiced. The shepherds in the field rejoiced and worshiped with Heaven. Elizabeth’s baby rejoiced in her belly when Mary walked in the room. Our posture is to be one of joy in the knowledge that Jesus is close.
Today may we find joy and great delight in the everyday moments of our day, may we rejoice in a God who sent his son to walk through these very mundane moments, these dark experiences, in the hope of the season, and to let the cause of our joy in the middle of it all be a God who is near. Amen.