Daily Devotional – December 29
Written by: Bob Bruce
Scripture: John 1:1-5, 14
Occasionally a comic strip will call my attention to a familiar teaching or theological idea. For instance, ‘Prickly City,’ from this past November 12, contains two cells that each present an evening desert scene. In both, the principal character, a little girl named Carmen, is standing beside a cactus silhouette under a dark sky peppered with stars and with purple mountains in the distance. In the first cell Carmen is looking toward the heavens shouting, “MAKE THE CHAOS STOP!” In the second some of the stars are rearranged into the words, “YOU FIRST.”
It seems the year 2020 has given us a lifetime of chaos. Being elderly and with an underlying condition, I feel particularly isolated. I find that the more I think about my circumstance, and the more I turn inward, the more I suffer. Having just celebrated the birth of our Savior, I give thought to what the coming of Jesus, The Prince of Peace, means to our collective and personal chaotic lives. Jesus’ teaching points away from self and outward toward others.
As I begin writing this devotion on a Sunday afternoon, I recall Pastor Andy saying in his sermon this morning that Jesus doesn’t promise us an absence of conflict, but peace within the conflict. That is exactly what the New Testament word translated ‘peace’ means. Jesus says in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” That peace which passes all understanding is available to each of us now. It comes with our faith in Jesus and as our faith grows over time, we can apply it into every aspect of our lives.
We live in a chaotic world where we experience both collective and personal stress from many sources and directions, but – we have hope. God in Jesus came into our chaotic world to save and to liberate us from its effects by welcoming us into his new realm, his kingdom, by grace through faith in his Anointed Son. As residents of his kingdom, created in his image, we participate in stopping the chaos in our world by reflecting his image through what we think, what we say and the way we treat every other person. By doing so we experience that peace which passes all understanding, that peace within the conflict and chaos that only the Eternal God through his Anointed Son can bring.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the word was God … The Word became flesh and made his home among us.” (CEB)
Prayer: Gracious, Holy, Father God, may we, your children, move first by reflecting your presence into our world to show your divine love in our every thought, word and act and by so doing receive your peace that passes all understanding. Amen.