Advent Week 2: Peace
Christmas is a beautiful holiday filled with parties, great food, family, and friends. For some, however, Christmas can include grief and loss and can exacerbate the feeling that things are not as they are supposed to be. Christmas can point us to our ultimate hope in Jesus and intensify our longing for something more than this life has to offer.
I always look forward to the holiday season, but when it arrives, I sometimes feel like my “to do” list is exhaustive. I also feel a stirring for completeness in Jesus that can’t be satisfied with all the festivities. The very thing I often seek during this season – peace – sometimes feels very elusive.
Can you relate?
A beautiful aspect of Christmas is that we are reminded that Jesus is our prince of peace, and that Jesus gives us something that the world cannot. Hallelujah! When we seek Jesus as our source of strength, we can truly call Him our prince of peace. The life of Jesus shows us, that because of his completed work on the cross, HE – not our circumstances – brings about authentic peace in our lives.
Psalm 91:1-2 “He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.’”
It is a joy to be able to extend the peace of Christ to a school, and there are some tangible practices that can help us along this journey.
We offer the peace of Christ to a school when we listen to understand rather than respond. Whether this is listening to a child’s story or extending a listening ear to a teacher or administrator, listening is a powerful tool we can utilize to meet each person where they are and show them the care, compassion, and peace of Christ.
We offer the peace of Christ to a school when we find our satisfaction in Jesus rather than our own works or recognition. I know that so many of you engage with a school in ways that aren’t advertised. Whether this be through tutoring, providing a word of encouragement to a faculty or staff member, meeting a tangible need, mentoring a student, etc. Resting in Christ’s peace allows us to operate with joy in knowing that faithful presence sows seeds that will eventually bear fruit, even if the fruit isn’t immediate or even seen in one’s lifetime. Scripture tells us that God has prepared good works for us beforehand that we should walk in them. The peace of Christ frees us to show up with joy because we’re not showing up to gain a sense of importance, but to extend the same grace to others that we ourselves have received from Jesus.
We offer the peace of Christ to a school when we keep showing up for students, teachers, and administrators– again and again. Authentic relationships take time, courage, persistence, and the receiving and extension of grace and forgiveness repeatedly. The peace of Christ allows us to stay brave in relationships and weather the storms that inevitably occur when we are in authentic relationships with others at a school. The peace of Christ allows us to show up at a school to build relationships whenever and however we can because we have a deep understanding of our “Why”. The Lord has extended so much grace to us, and our relational consistency with others reflects that grace in palpable ways.
I hope you can steal a moment away from the busyness of this season to stop and reflect on the peace of Christ and how you can demonstrate that peace to a school this year.
Isaiah 9:6 “For to us a child is both, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Written by Laura Varela, Director of United4Hope