THE PATH TO PEACE - December 19, 2022
Monday, December 19th
Advent Devotional #23 written by Pastor Shawn Thornton
THE PATH TO PEACE
To read today: Luke 1:67-80
The tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
We have five explicit declarations of adoration for Jesus all throughout the Christmas story as told by the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. They would actually make a fantastic Christmas musical, with songs appearing at precisely the correct times as the events of the Christmas story unfold, like the Sound of Music or the Greatest Showman.
When Gabriel informs Mary of Jesus’ birth, she responds with a hymn of praise. When Mary visited Elizabeth, her cousin, Elizabeth thanked God for her visit. The shepherds heard the angels’ praises for God. When Mary and Joseph carried Jesus to the temple to be dedicated, Simeon, a devout Jew who looked forward to the future Messiah, made a prophecy of praise. The most intriguing compliment, though, comes from Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah.
Zechariah poetically compares Jesus to the “rising sun.” He claims that Jesus provides for us in three ways.
He came to us from heaven. Thank God that Jesus willingly left his throne to come into the middle of our messy world to bring us peace.
He came to shine for people in darkness and near death. Thank God that when we are far from him, Jesus is the light that gives us hope again. When we are even near death, Jesus is our peace.
He came to guide us to a life of peace. A path is a cleared space that makes it easier for us to walk and get from one point to another. Zechariah describes that Jesus is the one who guides our feet in repeated steps of peace. The path of peace is a way of life Jesus wants us to walk in.
In Galatians 5:22–23, Paul reminds us that peace is a fruit of the Spirit. Whatever challenges we may be facing in life, God provides us with the appropriate course of action. In situations where we might want to complain, God seeks to give us joy. God bestows patience on us in response to our frustration in tough circumstances. God provides us with love as a response when we are dealing with hurt inflicted by others. God provides us with the Holy Spirit to bring about peace in our lives when we are faced with a circumstance that might otherwise overwhelm us with anxiety.
Because Jesus is our peace, he also serves as our road to peace. Ephesians 2:14 states, “For he himself is our peace.” Whatever disturbing circumstances you may encounter today, keep in mind that Jesus is your source of peace. Make the decision to yield to the Holy Spirit. You have two choices—panic or peace. You can choose peace today as you yield to the Holy Spirit.
Today: Pray throughout the day this quick prayer to the Lord when you must choose panic or peace: “Lord, remind me that you have given me peace through Jesus.”