About the Beer: Tonight’s beer is brewed in the classic scotch ale style of the 1700′s, with a deep reddish-brown color. Full of body, sweetness & flavor, with a smooth, lightly hopped finish. Serve at 45°F in a room temperature pint glass. Cheers!
Advent Reflection: This Advent season has been one where I honestly have had to embrace the darkness. In doing so, I have been in a continual state of worry. Worried and anxious about the discontent I feel at work. Worried and anxious about the state of my marriage. Worried and anxious about where I am as a father and how I’m providing for my family. There seems to be so many things that run through my mind and heart continually and I feel so unable to carry them, much less process them. This too, leaves me feeling worried and anxious. Tonight’s Scripture reading and reflection particularly hit close to home. The devotion is taken from “The Advent Project” ccca.biola.edu.
Blessings on your night and I pray that you will be filled with God’s peace!
Philippians 4: 4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
MAKING ROOM FOR CHRIST’S PERFECT PEACE
God’s peace is not given to the peaceful. Rest is reserved only for the tired and troubled. These conditions, however, are usually the last things that we want to admit about ourselves. We hope that God might not see us as exhausted and as anxious as we secretly know that we are. Despite our best efforts, however, he knows. He sees us as we are and moves toward us in grace. God’s peace meets us in the blur, in the noise, and in the unease.
Indeed, Christ’s word of peace is only a word for those who worry and those who ache. It’s for those who are unable to avoid the grief they feel or cover over the emptiness that sorrow has hollowed out inside of them. Christ seeks out this emptiness carved out by loss and hurt, because it’s the holy place where God intends to meet with us. In fact, he has allowed us to experience this depleting sorrow for exactly this reason. To fill up our emptiness with himself. As hard as it may be to believe, God permits this hollowing out just so there’s more room within us for his peace. So, stop and receive it as such. Just pause before your own emptiness and wait. Don’t be tempted to feel the need to do something with it. If at all possible, let it be; so that patience with the pain can become, quite simply, a portal for God’s peace.
Advent invites us to a deeper waiting, and as often as not, Advent’s waiting will not be quiet, calm, or nice. Waiting demands patience, and we have precious little to spare. But Christ’s peace is already ours, especially when we know ourselves to be anything but quiet, calm, or nice. We long for the peace “which transcends all understanding,” but we don’t really know what that looks like. Perhaps, that kind of peace is just the patience of trusting Christ’s own words that, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Trust that the good that God can do with our patience is far more beautiful than anything we could achieve on our own. Patience is all he asks today, because patience makes room for Christ’s perfect peace.