Finding Peace in the Storm

Welcome to the second week of Advent… the candle of Peace. Following our theme this year, let me tell you another little story.

In a far, far away land, a wealthy king decided to decorate the hallways of his grand home by holding a contest. He offered a substantial award to the artist who could depict “peace” in a painting. Artists from far and wide got to work. They presented the king with various peaceful renditions: snow-covered fields, baskets of flowers and fruits, children playing, and musical orchestras, but the king settled on two paintings of the kingdom’s nearby mountains.

The first was a painting of the valley’s lake in summer. The lush green mountainside towered over the still, clear water, the mountains reflected back at the beaming sun, disturbed only by the dusting of clouds in the clear blue sky. Wildflowers dotted the mountains. Many of the townspeople thought this was obviously the winner of the contest, for the painting surely exemplified “peace”.

The king mulled it over, appreciating its beauty, but passed it over for the final piece. The second painting was also one of the surrounding mountains and valley lake. Yet, this painting was dark and stormy. The mountains were in the shadows, lit only by a giant lightning bolt. The lake was swirled in a tempest of turbulent waves and whitecaps. No flowers dotted the countryside, only deep forests of fir trees. “This masterpiece will hang in my halls, as it depicts the truest “peace”” declared the king, “Do you see it? Tucked in here, beside the tallest fir tree in the shadows? A simple nest where momma bird sits quietly on her clutch of eggs, protected from the raging storm.”

True peace is when we can find calm despite the noise from the outside world. God-given peace of mind is not affected by the state of one’s surroundings, it comes from our hearts. Sometimes that means changing our perspectives. It was easy to see peace in the first painting of the summer sun. But the king had to look deep into the storm to find the nest. The bird knew she could not change the rain, but she could wait it out. The Holy Spirit helps us see the things we can change and the things we cannot change. He helps us look deep within and find what we need to carry on.

Another thoughtful muse by an unknown author (again adapted by me for you!) to remind us this week, that there are no promises that life will be endless summer days filled with wildflowers. There will be times when God will allow the tempests to rage deep into the shadows of our lives. True peace comes when we tuck ourselves in, knowing that God’s presence will guard and protect us — even in the middle of the storm. Only then are we truly able to shield others from similar storms.

And so, my beloveds, as we walk through this second week of Advent, remember that storms will come!

26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:26,27

The Advent Candle of Hope

Once upon a time, a small table stood in the corner of an old church. Upon it sat four candles. Their lights were dim and barely glowing. The shadows cast were gloomy and silent, and you could scarcely hear the candles speak. The first candle whispered, “I am Peace. But these days are dark with war and no one wants to keep the Peace anymore.” The Peace candle slowly flickered out into a puff of silent smoke.

The second candle jiggled slightly at the sight of Peace’s flame extinguishing. “I am Faith. Very few have kept the Faith these days — and I am tired of fighting. I am no longer essential in today’s society.” The Faith candle had no more energy and flickered out.

As it watched the other two candles, the sad third candle spoke, barely audible in the now dimly lit corner. “I am Love, but I no longer have the strength to carry on. People put me aside and don’t understand my importance. They even forget to love those who are nearest to them.” Waiting no longer, the third candle of Love quickly extinguished completely.

Suddenly, a small child entered the church’s barely lit sanctuary and sees that three candles are no longer burning and begins to cry. “Why are you no longer aflame?! You are supposed to stay lit until the end!”

It is now, that the fourth candle speaks gently to the small child. “Don’t be afraid, for I am Hope, and while I still burn, we can re-light the other three candles, and encourage them to share their light!” With shining eyes and a tear-streaked face, the child took the Candle of Hope and lit the other three candles. A warm glow once again enkindled the old church sanctuary.

The moral of the story is: Never let the flame of Hope go out of your life, for no matter how bad things look, Faith, Peace and Love can continue to shine brightly if there is Hope.

I came across this little story (by an unknown author) and adapted it here for my post about our first week of Advent: The candle of HOPE. Romans 5 reminds us that even through our trials, hope brings about good. If our hope is in Christ, our futures are bright. He brings the joy of the season fresh and new. Sometimes called the prophecy candle, the first candle of Advent can remind us that not only did Jesus come to earth on the first Christmas night, but He is coming again soon!

Abstract Advent – Four Purple Candles

Biblical Hope waits and endures. It isn’t flimsy or merely wishful thinking. It can withstand fire, trials and despair. It can spark the flame of Love, Peace and Faith. Feel the warmth of Hope’s glow my beloveds! Until next week!

Want more advent musings?

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Joy Week Devotional

Greetings, my friends! The tree is up and cookies are baked… I am behind in my shopping but the Christmas season is upon us, whether I am ready or not. It’s the third week of Advent… Joy according to my list. Let’s have a chat about that word, shall we? Joy. I loved this post we did about Joy in Photographs… and I’m always interested in seeing what brings different people joy. I love that we are all uniquely wired and have our own individual things that spark that joy within our hearts. (check out this post).

I delved into a little e-book this week (thanks that has helped me organize this post; I hope that it enlightens you as much as it did me.

Photo by Kolby Milton on Unsplash

Joyful Light

How many times have you been overjoyed at light? Our dog starts bouncing up and down everytime a set of carlights round the corner. As does my momma’s heart when the headlights pull in the driveway after a late night or a snow storm. Or how about securing your fears with the flick of a switch in the middle of the night, or that toddler’s fears about monsters under the bed? Of all the ways God could have signaled the coming of His son, He chose to light up the night with the brightest of stars. One so bright, that the wisest men on Earth had to take notice. “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” Matthew 2:10

Joy Shared

What is good news unless it is shared? Why do you think social media is such a big hit in our society? We just love to share things! How many of us could barely contain the secret of a new baby on it’s way or an engagement announcement? Joyful news is meant to be shared! We were designed to interact. Our stories tell the good news and spread it’s joy! “As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:20

The Joy of Making Room

Most of us have way to much stuff. Our closets, our pantrys, our garages, our basements are filled to the brim with gizmos and gadgets that are unnecessary. Yet many of our neighbours will go hungry or alone this Christmas season. If we all made a little room at the dinner table this year, do you think it would bring you as much joy as the one you serve will have? I’m all for re-gifting and sharing what we can’t use ourselves. We need to make it normalized. Sharing brings joy — not stigma! “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” John 3:11

A Legacy of Joy

Many of us consider Christmas a time for family. We travel to visit, to celebrate and to reminisce. We miss those who have passed on and recount their stories with laughter and joy. The next generation bring smiles to the faces of those of us who are reliving Christmas morning joys through them. How many of us have learned from family… both in struggle and in peace? How do you want to be remembered? As one who sparked joy or strife? It starts with our attitude for today. “The memory of one who lived with integrity brings joy…” Proverbs 10:7 (VOICE)

Joy in Jesus

Finally, we cannot ignore the fact that our only true joy comes through the babe born. None of us, not even Mary, His mother, can be saved without the baby who came to die on the cross for us. How many times have I marvelled about how do people survive this world without the Hope that Jesus brings? I know I could never do it alone. Being “good” doesn’t cut it. We all start out in the same sinful boat. Truly this is the Joy fullfilled in the advent season. “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” Luke 1:46, 47

Blessings this Joy week, my friends! Until we muse together again…

photo via: Kendrickhome