2022 Advent Devotion: How do we find PEACE?

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The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus – Philippians 4:5-7, NIV

Could you use some peace this Christmas? I am counting on it. My wife, Mary, went to Heaven one year ago. But even in that grief, when I look back over the past year, I see so many times that I have had the peace of God, even though it is very hard to define. To me, peace is the presence of God. When you are fully experiencing His presence, you experience that peace that passes understanding. 

This world has so many things that can distract us from God’s presence and peace. All too often, as we get caught up in family, work, and ministry—the “white noise” of our own efforts can keep us from experiencing His presence. These days, as I am missing my wife, I can also get caught up in painful memories. 

When you realize that you are getting caught up in all those things that keep you from the presence of God, unplug. Jesus gave us the example in Scripture when He would pull back and go off by Himself. 

Unplug, even if you are just pouring a cup of coffee, grabbing your Bible, and going off to read a bit. Unplug and go for a walk outside in nature. How do you unplug from the weight of the world and get into God’s presence again? I enjoy sitting by a fire pit and talking to God. 

It doesn’t come natural to unplug—you have to fight the noise of the world. As I sit and look out my window to the beauty of nature and meet God, I start thinking about how I need to rake leaves and clean up the yard. I am hearing the “noise” again. I need to tune out the noise and return my thoughts to God. 

Once you unplug from the world, it also helps to plug in to Scripture. 

When I find myself being attacked, distracted, or even sucked into a hole of despair or depression, I go back to what God says in His Word and refocus. We can find peace and comfort in God’s promises. Scripture can reorient us when we find ourselves losing our peace.

But I will say that sometimes God gives us His peace with no effort on our part. When I spoke at my wife’s celebration of life, I had no idea how I did that. I wanted to glorify God, point to Him, and honor my wife’s memory even though I was not even sure how I could speak. But God gave me peace during that service when I should have had no peace. It was a gift!

This Christmas, remember—the Lord is near. Seek His presence and let His peace flow.

Prayers for the week ahead:

Day 1 – For family

Father, we long for peace for our family. Please help us unplug from the world this Christmas and show us how to be in Your presence. Help us to open Your Word and see your promises in a new way. Guide us closer to You this advent season! Amen

Day 2 – For friends and neighbors

Father, we lift up our friends and neighbors to You. For the ones who do not know You personally, please draw them to yourself to start that life-giving relationship! Would You give peace to our friends and neighbors this Christmas? This will be a hard season for many. They need your presence. Be with them! Amen

Day 3 – For those at work

Father, we are grateful for the jobs You have given us to do. Give us a peace at work that draws coworkers to You! Give us the words to say when coworkers ask about our peace. Lead them to You! And please help us to unplug from the worries of work and come home to connect with each other and with You. Amen

Day 4 – For those in the military

Father, we lift up the men and women of the military. We thank You for the ones who protect our nation now and the ones who have served in the past. Each one needs Your presence and peace each day. For those who do not know You personally, Father, please call them by name—call them into a real relationship with You. For those who do know You, grow them closer to you day-by-day so they will know Your peace even in the darkest of times. Please protect our military. Amen. 

Day 5 – For our nation’s leaders

Father, we pray for leaders who will know Your peace and bring peace to our land. May those who do not know You, Father, be drawn to You this Christmas by Your Holy Spirit. We pray for revival among our leaders that will spread to our whole country! Give our leaders the wisdom to guide our country in 2023. Amen. 

Devotion by Jeff McCormack

Jeff McCormack is a native Northern Virginian. He has a degree in Psychology and was a business owner for more than 20 years before being called to ministry. After several years as congregational care pastor at his home church, God called Jeff and Mary to serve as part of Cru Military. He currently serves as the North East Area of Operations director.