From Ruth Heilman, Minister of Music …
Peace? Are you serious?!
Happy Advent! The word “advent” means, “the coming.” The tradition of Advent focuses on Christ’s coming and bringing peace to us. Bible readings highlight Old Testament prophecies which point to Jesus’ coming into the world as a baby, His coming into our hearts through Word and Scripture, and His second coming on the Last Day. Churches and homes light candles on the Advent wreath, adding one flame each week, as we reflect and prepare our hearts for Jesus, the gift of Peace.
Our lives don’t always match this peace-filled Advent ideal. Santa may be making a list and checking it twice, but I’ve got a few lists of my own – grocery lists, gift lists, baking lists, and more. In December, calendars and lists fill quickly.
As we prepare for Jesus’ coming, let’s try to shorten the lists. Instead of baking 15 kinds of cookies (guilty!), support a local cookie sale. Rather than attending every “Breakfast with Santa,” Christmas Market, and Christmas light show in the region, choose just one. Unplug from social media and the temptation to post every picture. Sit by the fire, watch the snow fall, and send “Epiphany cards” in January. Enjoy the gift of time, and in doing so, the blessing of peace. Sounds great, right? Often, it’s not that simple.
December can be “crazy busy” for musicians. We have the opportunity to help others experience the peace and joy of the Christmas season. I have about 25-30 rehearsals, worship services, and performances this month. It is wonderful, but it can be tiring. For musicians, church workers, teachers, retail and postal workers, and many others, we can’t always change the December list, but we can set aside time in the future to rejuvenate. For me, Advent reflection happens around January 1. It doesn’t matter when or where, just that we take time to revel in God’s gift of true Peace and Joy – Jesus.
“And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
And he shall be their peace.”
Micah 5: 4-5
May God bless you and yours with the peace and joy that only He can give!