Read: “You will look for Me intently, and you will find Me.” Jeremeiah 29:13 (VOICE)
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NLT)
Reflect: My family had many traditions focused on Jesus’ birth as I was growing up. My mom had an old nativity scene that she set up that included baby Jesus, but she also had a solitary manger that she set on a low shelf between the living room and kitchen and this was my favorite. It sat empty for the four weeks leading up to Christmas, but we knew this was baby Jesus’ bed. I checked it often, looking forward to Christmas morning when Jesus would have appeared overnight. My siblings and I typically didn’t even finish going through our stockings before one of us would remember and run to see that Jesus was there.
That simple tradition heightened my expectation during the weeks before Christmas. The manger looked so lonely, and I was thankful that the emptiness would eventually be filled. It would have been easy, in a busy house with several kids, to let the bustle of Christmas day pass without any real attention to the reason we were celebrating. Amongst the chaos of a big family with presents, noise, laughter, and Christmas treats, Jesus’ presence in a small simple manger remained at the center of it all.
There are times in my life now when I feel that same expectant longing I felt as a kid when the manger was empty. Interruptions monopolize my attention and uncertainty fills me with tension and anxiety. In those moments, I need to run to Jesus. He is there with me and his peace is possible when I place him at the center of my life.
React: Spend some time this week quietly focusing on Jesus, his presence in your life, and the peace he provides even when you aren’t sure how your circumstances are going to turn out.
Pray: Thank you, Lord, for your constant presence. Help me to trust you in the middle of uncertainty.