I need some good news.
Tidings of comfort and joy. Peace on earth and goodwill to men. Joy to the world.
Soon we’ll enjoy the season just around the corner where we’ll spend time and parties singing and soaking in these themes of the Coming of Immanuel, God with us. I’ve never been so tempted to pull out the tree and fill the corners of our house with extra light. I may be secretly singing carols when I drive places alone.
But first . . . I feel I haven’t conjured up enough gratitude out of this autumn. Do you ever grasp at the passing season, hoping to squeeze out the last of the nostalgia before it moves on?
In September I eagerly gathered fall foliage, put together an autumn playlist, and made plans to write things I’m thankful for on 3×5 cards each day. It’s been a beautiful season, with many more reasons to rejoice than to despair.
Determined to feel thankful vibes, I’ve made pumpkin chocolate chip bread and pulled out my book about pilgrims and made new traditions. Sweet nods to the season, but what I most needed was the power that real heart-rooted thanksgiving to God brings.
This week I sat in the waiting room for an appointment. Over an hour crept by as people more sick than me shuffled in and out, but I felt the full soak of the inconvenience of waiting — er dreading — the extra time before my name was finally called.
My wait turned out purposeful. Ashamed of my impatience, I remembered and prayed for my brave brother-in-law and sister-in-law who have practically been living at their hospital with their baby, watching him experience layers of suffering. They’re sustained by the Lord.
Back at home, I wished to complain in my raspy sick voice (that sounds like pathetic whining practically no matter what I say) about the discomforts of pregnancy. Then I remembered how many would love to feel a little baby pressed up against their ribs. Precious, precious gifts.
But comparison and optimism alone aren’t what bring year-long worship that will spill into Advent season. No amount of white pumpkins or orange-hued branches will replace the worship prompted by gazing at Him.
An old, old friend — Philippians chapter four — gave me hope today:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Thanks to the grace of the Spirit for spurring me to place my supplications, bathed in thanks, in God’s hands, all with a promise of a powerful, unexplainable peace in Christ. This is the good news.
I hope this peace can settle in our hearts even if our Thanksgiving gathering isn’t everything it always used to be. If it’s robbed of health or laced with heartbreak, our minds and hearts are safe, guarded with peace on earth sent from God.
Do not be anxious and neglect the great peace available to us. Here with us is our Immanuel. The PRINCE of Peace, yes, even far as the curse is found. He receives all the supplications and praise our holiday tables can give Him. And our ordinary tables.
Our hearts will respond in thanks when we simply gaze on Him in truth and holiness. Please, remind me of this good news in the days to come.