Advent Reading for December 7, 2021
by Anne Gibson

Philippians 4:7
“And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What’s on your heart and mind these days? Are you feeling peaceful?

The past 21 months have flooded our hearts and minds with all things Covid. Sometimes it seems like our lives revolve around this pernicious disease. Certainly we can’t ignore it when almost every action we take is affected by it in some way.

Our default definition of peace is often “absence of conflict.” Yes, there’s been a lot of conflict in regard to people’s thinking, understanding, and actions in regard to Covid. But Covid aside, would we be in a state of peace without it? We still have all the other “incidentals” of life that weigh on our minds daily. How about monthly bills? Relationships? Christmas? Peace is much more than the absence of conflict.

To better understand today’s scripture, we need to look at the previous verse which begins, “Do not be anxious about anything….” If we start there and think about all the possibilities in our life which can and do produce anxiety in us, peace can seem far away, maybe unattainable. Verse 6 continues, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.” In other words, in order to feel the peace of Christ Jesus, we have to be active participants. We have to admit that life can be overwhelming and sometimes out of our control. The good news is, that’s okay. Jesus is there for us. If we put our trust in him and fully believe in his power and love for us, then we can experience peace that transcends anything our human minds can imagine. Jesus walks beside us every day. His peace is there for the asking. Through prayer, petition, and thanksgiving it can be ours. Isn’t it wonderful and amazing that Jesus can and will guard our hearts and minds…if we just ask him and let him?

Reflective Question:
Have you ever felt the peace of God which transcends all understanding?

Dear God, I know you are with me every day. I’m asking for your peace to help me get through my anxious life. Amen.