Longing for Peace

December 6, 2021

Matthew 2:11 NIV

On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Today's Reading: Matthew 2:7-12

Devo Author: Carrie Tucker

Date: December 6, 2021

I begin getting ready for the Christmas season in September. My kids fill out their Christmas lists to give to their generous aunts and uncles. I start to anticipate the colder nights, gathered around the fireplace when the busyness of fall is behind me and I am surrounded by my kids, Christmas cookies, and twinkling lights. There is a peace that comes every Christmas if you can slow down enough to catch it. Oh, there are plenty of worries too: errands to run, cookies to bake, presents to buy. But, if we can slow down our pace enough, we can feel the longing in our hearts for it.

In the fall of 2019 my family was recovering from a lot of loss. We lost my sweet mother-in-law, Mary, to ALS. I was still recovering from a serious injury. We had to postpone building our house for another year and we were living in a little camper. And our cat died. We were very sad so we decided to go out of town and spend Thanksgiving on the lake. We needed a change of scenery (and some more space!). We needed peace.

Running away didn’t help us. While it distracted us, it just confused us about where we needed to turn for real, lasting, restorative peace. Things were bad and sad and messy. And the idea of Christmas without the people and things we loved was even sadder. On a whim, I took the girls to the hot tub (outdoor, in 30 degree weather!). It started sleeting! We were freezing! But we had the best time, laughing at our situation. Slowing down, shivering, and laughing all helped us realize we were going to be okay. We were going to have peace again, and we would find it together.

The Old Testament prophetic books tell many stories of God’s people and the problems they found themselves in while being ruled by some bad kings. God’s people longed for a good king, for the promised King who would set things right and restore them to a better relationship with God, them back to their homes. Even other people in other parts of the world knew about this good King promised in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Magi who arrive in Bethlehem in Matthew chapter 2 are not Hebrew, but they were searching for the good King who would bring peace to the world. They were excited! They traveled a long, long way with heavy packages for many weeks. Their King was found on a night in Bethlehem under a star in a home with his mother. They weren’t distracted by worries, by bad kings who would come bringing murder and pain, by long journeys, by cold nights out in the desert. They rejoiced! They laid their heavy packages at the King’s feet and worshiped, finally finding the peace their hearts longed for. They had found the King who would bring peace to the whole world.

As image bearers of God, we have certain longings embedded in our hearts. Just like the Magi searching for the King of the Jews, we long for peace. We long for relationships. We long for security, safety, and comfort. We long for things to be set right. We also long for God Himself, for Jesus who is peace. It is in this longing that worship happens. This Christmas, I hope you can lay your worries, pain, and heavy burdens at the feet of Jesus and rejoice. Worship the good King. Worship and receive the peace that only He can bring.