Though fully aware Advent had begun, I was still stunned to flip the calendar page this week and confront the fact that it is now December. This is the point in our annual walk to the manger when I usually panic. Even with Christmas music blaring from every available speaker, all I can hear is, “So much to do, so little time!”

Traditionally, this is the Sunday of preparation. We’re meant to focus on preparing our hearts and minds for the arrival of the Christmas Child. As we re-examine our Advent process of waiting, I’d like to suggest that we also consider this a Sunday of peace.

It’s far too easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of our practical and secular preparation for Christmas – buying, baking, wrapping, shipping, and decorating. But rather than racing the clock, we should be slowing down and carving out a peaceful space in which to ponder all the gifts that the newborn King brings us. There is strength in acknowledging the darkness from which He saves us. There is power in embracing the hope He brings us. There is inspiration in trusting the timing of all His blessings.

It’s also important to share this peace. A smile to a stranger, a kind word for a stressed neighbor, or that extra moment of patience in a busy store – these simple moments spread the peace we find in the Lord. And by giving that gift to those around us, we remind ourselves of its power.

As we draw nearer to Christmas, let us strive to prepare in peace. Let us be mindful of why we’re doing what we’re doing, and let us inform all our actions with our appreciation for the Prince of Peace, who comes to set aside our burdens and wash away our sins. May His arrival find us with open, ready hearts and minds.      

“And again, Isaiah says,
‘The Root of Jesse will spring up,
One who will arise to rule over the nations;
in Him the Gentiles will hope.’
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:12-13