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Advent Day 12: Perfect Peace

At that time, this song
    will be sung in the country of Judah:
We have a strong city, Salvation City,
    built and fortified with salvation.
Throw wide the gates
    so good and true people can enter.
People with their minds set on you,
    you keep completely whole,
Steady on their feet,
    because they keep at it and don’t quit.
Depend on God and keep at it
    because in the Lord God you have a sure thing.
Those who lived high and mighty
    he knocked off their high horse.
He used the city built on the hill
    as fill for the marshes.
All the exploited and outcast peoples
    build their lives on the reclaimed land.

The path of right-living people is level.
    The Leveler evens the road for the right-living.
We’re in no hurry, God. We’re content to linger
    in the path sign-posted with your decisions.
Who you are and what you’ve done
    are all we’ll ever want.

~Isaiah 26:1-10 (The Message)

There’s a homesick girl somewhere in Arkansas wishing nothing more than to be home for Christmas. Home, where Christmas is celebrated better than anywhere else. Where Christmas feels more vibrant, and the lights shine brighter. There’s a feeling that was stamped on our souls as children, a feeling of what Christmas is supposed to be like, and Christmas peace seems to be somehow attached to that experience. The smell of a real Christmas tree, the annual reading of Christmas stories, the traditions – sounds, tastes, and smells that make Christmas real.

And there were these people who watched their home destroyed. People who wandered for too long and had to suffer the consequences of what they saw as their peace demolished, ripped out from under them. The traditions, the childhood home unable to be replicated anywhere else, memories begetting new memories, all of this stripped from them. All remnants of the peace they knew smashed before their eyes.

In devastation they cried out for help. And in sacred mercy they received an answer. From a heart of fatherly love the Almighty responds to His wayward children. Not with childhood homes restored to perfection, or the memories of happy times past becoming reality once more. The consequences were still real and continued to unfold. But in the midst of the devastation of Israel God offered Himself as a constant place of refuge, an unfailing source of peace.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is eternal.

~Isaiah 26:3-4 (NIV)

A steadfast mind does not waver. A mind set on the Lord is one that pursues him and seeks him, basing all that they do and say around the God that they are serving. A mind stayed on God is one that sees the world through the His perspective, a God-oriented lens. These are the ones who know peace. Perfect peace. Their peace in this season in not based on the warmth and coziness of the Christmas feel, or the traditions kept, or the presents received. Their peace in this season is based solely on their trust in the Lord. And it is far more perfect than any holiday experience can provide.

377431_10150517836134936_973917099_n379156_10150517832034936_1170702219_n404514_10150517840549936_550354585_nThe solution for true peace this Christmas is not going to be found in the traditions kept, the cookies made, or the candles lit. The solution for true peace at Christmas is the same as the solution for peace the rest of the year. Our minds must be fixed on Him. Our hearts must choose to trust that His plans are perfect. And we must be content to linger in His divinely crafted circumstances that He has placed us in. Our worlds around us may be far from perfect, our plans may be upset, and our desires unfilled. But with our minds firmly fixed on the Prince of Peace and our hearts seeking Him, we will know the peace He offers.

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