Comfort My People

by Christine Sine

by Barbie Perks

Isaiah 40:1-11 is read in conjunction with Mark 1:1-8 as the lectionary reading for the second Sunday in Advent this year. It is usually read as referring to John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. 

This year for my Advent practice, I purchased a copy of John van de Laar’s The Making of a Messiah and have been blessed in using it. I have been challenged to re-think what it means to hope (week 1) and now in week 2 I’m challenged anew by what it means to be a peacemaker. One thing that strikes me is that I can’t pretend to be a peacemaker (much as I would like to) if I’m not at peace within my own heart. 

I have known for some time that I tend to overthink things, especially things that bother me, and the thinking/arguing/justifying conversations that I have in my own head at times can drive me up the wall! The devotional reading this week, and the questions to help me work through it, provided an insight into my heart I had not perceived before. I am responsible for the chaos, the conflict, the violence I do to myself with and through my thought life, and until I make peace in my head and heart, I will not be able to make peace in my relationships or even in the community around me.

My daily walks have been interesting as the week has progressed. I have been talking to God about this insight, and inevitably my thoughts will wander depending on what I am seeing around me. I have been able to recognise and bring those thoughts back to order, to banish the conflict I sense coming at me. A result is a new sense of peace flooding over me at that point. It is a journey I’m embarking on, preparing the way for a new Peace-filled walk with God. 

Two days ago, I spotted and picked up a discarded birds nest. It was intricately made and even had soft grass flowers lining the inside of the nest. I thought it would have been quite soft and comfortable. But for some unknown reason the nest had been discarded. A thought popped into my head, asking how many times we as people, I as a person, tend to discard God’s comfort without reason. Sometimes we just flat out don’t even know what that comfort looks like because we are so focussed on what we want, how our issues could be resolved, that we are oblivious to what God is doing in our lives. I know I am guilty of this. 

I have hung that bird’s nest on my Christmas tree to remind me to look deeper for the comfort God provides, to be more aware of the peace that comes when I address and banish the conflict that rages in my thoughts and to welcome the opportunities to build peace into my relationships when they present themselves.

May God lead you into peace this Christmas season, may He fill you with hope and joy, and may you feel His love as you celebrate anew the birth of Christ this year.

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