By Becky Ahlberg
For many, especially church leaders, Christmas is more chaos than celebration. Besides the extra programs and parties, family responsibilities and expectations also expand. These short meditations (which started December 6 and will continue with a new, early morning post each day through January 1) are designed with leaders in mind. Take a few minutes each day to ponder these thoughts designed to help you find the wonder of the incarnation in the midst of your responsibilities.
Advent is simply a time to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. In liturgical settings, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and centers around these four concepts: hope, peace, joy, and love. For our purposes, we are focusing on those four words, but we started on the first Sunday of December and will finish on New Year’s Day.
May your holidays be blessed as you celebrate God’s gift to you while you give of yourself to others.
Read Isaiah 7:14; 9:6, 7.
We begin our second week of meditations with a focus on peace. Read Luke 2:8-11. For too many of us, peace needs to be the absence of conflict. Is that what peace is? The angel’s message was to poor, harassed shepherds. What they probably heard most clearly was, “Fear not” (v. 10, King James Version) . . . a good place to start when seeking peace.
Few things can rob our sleep, our perseverance, or our focus on ministry like fear. It is the ultimate paralyzer. It crushes hope and cripples faith. In Scott Lencke’s blog, “The Prodigal Thought” (January 12, 2013), he posits that the opposite of peace is fear. “So, when I, as one created in God’s image and being re-created in the image of Christ, feel all out of sorts, not knowing the peace of God, I might just consider what kind of fear has laid hold of my heart.”
Jesus himself said, “In this world you will have trouble, but FEAR NOT, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, author’s paraphrase). What is robbing your peace and causing you fear this Christmas? The good news is not just an angel’s; hear the words of the Prince of Peace: fear not!
Becky Ahlberg serves as executive director of My Safe Harbor in Anaheim, California.