An Advent Journey: Stop, Look, Listen – Day 16

“I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in  your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.

Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you — your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. 

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. 

So, friends, confirm God’s invitation to you, his choice of you. Don’t put it off; do it now. Do this, and you’ll  have your life on a firm footing, the streets paved and the way wide open into the eternal kingdom of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ.” — 2 Peter 1:1-11, The Message
Grace and peace. Words of blessing which appear again and again in the letters of the New Testament. Grace and peace.  I don’t know about you, but by this time in the month of December — and most especially in this particular December  — I am in dire need of an ever-flowing fountain of both.

The peace that comes from some quiet space, tucked somewhere into my day. The grace that is needed to drive in holiday traffic without gripping the wheel in a white-knuckled death-vise with one fist, while shaking the other in the direction of all those crazy drivers let loose on the world. 

Grace and peace, gifts that come only from God, attributes that reflect God’s nature back into our day-to-day world. They’re not on Peter’s gift-list in the next-to-the-last paragraph (and that is some list!), but somehow they permeate every line of this beautiful greeting. 

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Hands open to receive, eyes closed to say thank you. Just a few moments to be quiet — and there they are again — grace and peace.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. 
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on  me, a sinner. 
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

When the hurry-scurry of this season overwhelms, stop for a few moments. Close your eyes, concentrate on your breathing and say quietly to yourself this ancient prayer of the church, one phrase with each inhale and each exhale. The Jesus Prayer has been an anxiety-reliever for nearly 2000 years. Try it, you’ll like it.

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  1. Within the past week 5 loved ones have had scary news from doctors and are awaiting more “tests” . . . .Newtown . . . .what’s going on, Lord? Isn’t this Christmas time? Lord Jesus Christ, Son of god, mave mercy on me, a sinner. Merci, Diana –

  2. You’re welcome, Sue. This post was written before Newtown happened, yet it seemed most appropriate to let it stand, as is. Because Jesus is who we need in this mess, in this pain. Blessings of peace and grace to you and your loved ones awaiting further ‘tests.’ That is hard, hard!