I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27 NLT
“I just need to run in and buy a card.” There might have been a time, before he understood, that Jim went with me. How was he to know that buying a card meant first reading every card, then the winnowing process until finally the card was found?
Pick up a Christmas card? Easy. I’ll get one with a Nativity scene – a crèche – an image of that Holy Night – an image of peace. But which image? Gleaming perfect porcelain? Carved and polished wood? Soft sculptured satin?
Will the peace of the image bring to mind the family of the young girl with news of an unexpected and unprecedented pregnancy? The feelings of the man who was not yet married to this girl? The months living in a small village where people never tired of talking? The days of walking from Nazareth to Bethlehem? The realization that your baby’s birth is imminent and you have no room in this crowded city.
Luke gives us a beautiful description of Mary’s mountaintop experience as her confusion changes to acceptance of the angel’s message. We feel her joy as we read about her visit with Elizabeth. Were there also valleys? Were there days when doubts crept in? Were there moments when she questioned what she knew to be true? Her peace would have been rooted in her personal encounter with the messenger of God.
I choose the image of the soft handmade Nativity scene with worn spots and misplaced stitches. Peace undergirds excellence and imperfection; it can be found on the mountaintops and in the valleys. Our encounter with Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is our assurance of that peace.
Help us, Lord, to rely upon your Spirit to keep us mindful of your gift of peace.