Advent Series: Peace
By Crystal Hildebrand

It’s the absence of peace that makes us appreciate and long for it. Although most of us don’t ever have to endure war and conflict, it does happen overseas and throughout history. We think about the war in Ukraine or Israel and we pray for peace.

But at the same time, we continue with our lives, doing mundane things such as going to work or the grocery store. Only when the world comes crashing down around us and trouble hits home that we begin to miss the peace we so recently took for granted. The peace we didn’t know we had before the anxiety and worry hit.

My daughter and I were headed to a Christmas event in our town when I got the call. As soon as I answered it, I knew something was wrong.

Pulled over on the side of the road, I quickly took my phone off speaker and braced myself for the news. My mother was in the hospital, possibly because of a heart attack.

Being the oldest, and having a history working in the medical field, my first order of business was to calm everyone down and say things like “We don’t know that yet,” “She’s in good hands,” and all sorts of things you say but don’t really believe.

The second order of business was to downplay the situation to my daughter, who sat patiently beside me, while I made calls.

That night, as I told my husband and teenage son the news, I held it together. Again, I said the words with a steadiness in my voice that didn’t reflect what was going on inside. I held it together as I texted my parents and my sister for updates.

This is what we do. As mothers, fathers, and sons or daughters, we find strength we didn’t know we had. We hold it together for those who need us. But we can only do that for so long before the check engine light comes on. When we hit our breaking point, we find ourselves surrendering to the heaviness of it all, finally collapsing under the pressure and longing for the peace we thought we had.

We weren’t designed to carry our burdens alone. In John 14:26, Jesus says that we have a Helper, the Holy Spirit. And where does that help come from? The maker of heaven and earth!

Not only that, but Jesus promises us peace: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, NKJV).

These are the words Jesus used to say goodbye to His followers. He knew they would face persecution, and that many of them would be martyrs.

God’s peace does not mean the absence of trouble. That is the world’s definition. God’s peace is so much bigger than that!

As we approach Christmas this year, many of us approach it with heavy hearts. But I pray that we will experience the peace Jesus has for us through the Holy Spirit. And I pray that the trouble of this world will be stripped away, so we will be filled with “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7, NKJV).

About this Contributor:

Crystal Hildebrand is a Publishing Assistant at Word Alive Press. She is an avid reader and writer who enjoys coffee, book clubs, and her sensitive wolfhound. Crystal and her husband of 20 years live in rural Manitoba with their two very busy teenagers.

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