The greatest gift in our life of faith is that God lives in each of us. Quiet prayer is a chance to reconnect with our best self and the God who made us.
As you enter into prayer, know that the peace of God is available to all who seek it. In fact, it is already in your heart. Try to claim it now.
And remember that tomorrow is another day.next >
Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Let your gentleness show in your treatment of all people. The Lord is near. Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7next >
What does it mean that the peace of God “exceeds all understanding”? Your guess is as good as mine. I think it might mean we could spend our whole lives asking the question and still find new ways to answer it.
Perhaps you’re not someone who finds it easy to be glad or joyful. Perhaps you know others who make it look easy, and perhaps that only makes you more confused or frustrated. (Perhaps you’re catching on that a certain writer feels this way.)
If so, then it’s probably “beyond understanding” that we could ever learn to “be glad in the Lord always!” There are plenty of days when I’d settle for “gladness sometimes.”
For me, the peace of God is knowing that God wants all these amazing things for me (gladness always, freedom from anxiety, a deep sense of thanksgiving) and that it’s OK that I’m not there yet.
The peace of God is believing that we — and that the world — can be broken and whole at the same time. Jesus shows us how.
Kyle Olivernext >
Jesus, you are my peace. Give me the gift of gladness and the gift of knowing you are with me even and especially when gladness eludes me. Amen.next >
Spirit of Peace, you dwell in my heart.
Spirit of Love, you make me whole.
Spirit of Joy, you teach me to serve.
Kyle Matthew Oliver (@kmoliver) is an Episcopal priest who believes in the power of digital media to help people engage their faith. He serves as digital missioner for the Center for the Ministry of Teaching at Virginia Theological Seminary and lives with his wife in New York City. He enjoys doing yoga, making things, and listening to podcasts.
Advent Reflections: O Come, O Come Emmanuel