SONGS OF PEACE - December 22, 2022
Thursday, December 22nd
Advent Devotional #26 written by Pastor Shawn Thornton
SONGS OF PEACE
To read today: 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4: 8-9
Have you ever felt truly alone? You can be in a room crowded with people and feel utterly alone. A perfect example of this is when you go to another country that doesn’t speak your language. You can be surrounded by thousands of people and yet feel isolated and as if you are the only one there. You might attend a friend’s Christmas party. You don’t know anyone else at the party except for the host. Lonely and awkward. Or it’s your first Christmas with your significant other’s family. You might feel a little out of place. Maybe even at church. You see smiling faces, but you feel heaviness in your heart that no one really knows you or cares.
The author of today’s Scripture knew what it was like to feel alone. The Apostle Paul knew what it was to be persecuted—to be punished for his faith. He knew what it was to be pressed down, abandoned, and in despair. If you can think of it, it probably happened to Paul. He was beaten repeatedly, stoned, imprisoned, lashed, accused, shipwrecked, mocked, and more. Yet, he pens the words above, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” He writes those words to comfort other believers and to tell them not to give up even when they feel lonely and discouraged by life.
Mary must have felt loneliness. Sure, she had Joseph. She had Elizabeth, who was going through something similar but, at the same time, very different. Mary would travel alone on the path she journeyed from the cradle in a stable to the cross on a hillside. She would face many of the emotions Paul records in reference to his own life. Yet she, like Paul, had peace in the one who is our Prince of Peace.
Lately, I have been drawn to songs of peace. Quiet, simple, gentle songs of worship. I have even noticed that I am drawn to the peaceful songs of the Christmas season. What Christmas carol or worship song this year has ministered to your heart? We all have special songs that speak to our deepest sorrows and express our greatest joys. Even Mary sings a song of praise in response to God’s goodness when she did not fully understand all God was calling her to (Luke 1:46-55).
When we truly begin to understand the presence of God, that He is ever and always with us, we can learn to praise Him, no matter the circumstances. Paul put it this way. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). You may feel lonely, but you are never alone.
Pray Today: Dear God, thank You for never leaving me alone. Thank you that I can praise You no matter what my circumstances. Help me to live today in a way that shows Your peace and presence in my life.