This short essay is taken from the devotional, The Incarnation and the Exultation: An Advent Devotional. This devotional reflects on the scriptures of incarnation and exaltation in order to take you on a journey of thoughtful self-reflection. It is meant to draw you more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s coming into the world to help you walk your own inner path toward the season of Christmas. As you celebrate the coming of Christ into your lives during Advent and spend time reflecting on the readings in this devotional, may the light and love that entered our world lead you to the cross in wonder and thanksgiving. May you find joy and discover strength as you walk this wondrous journey to Bethlehem, always holding within your heart the image of the Hill of Calvary and the hope of the Age to come when Christ will return to call his people home!
Monday, First Week of Advent – A Place of Peace
Incarnation – I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!” (Psalm 122:1)
Exaltation – On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” (John 20:19)
There exists for every believer a place we long to enter, the Holy City where we may experience peace and unity forevermore. We long to know the safety and security of being with those who love us and accept us for who we are. We want to be able to stand before a just judge rather than face the criticisms and cruelty of fallen humanity. We seek a refuge from the harshness of the world, a place where we may prosper in our souls and experience the rest we so desperately long to have.
The beautiful Christmas Hymn, "Good Christian Men Rejoice" is meant to be sung slowly and deliberately, with a sweet and somber voice and a surrendered heart. One can envision the saints dancing in delight before the throne of heaven, caught up in the joy of perfect submission to the One who came to save the souls of men. It reminds us of the sacred movement of Worship, the joyful dance of the Church in sweet communion with Christ. We are being drawn ever nearer to our heavenly city in a spirit of unity and peace. As we journey together, taking each step with joyful anticipation and heartfelt hope, we bring alive the peace that awaits us in eternity yet lives within us in the here and now.
The Church should be our refuge, a place of peace where we can be vulnerable and yet find security, sorrowful and yet find joy, weak and yet find strength. Christmas is the culmination of that slow and steady march towards the miracle of the incarnation. Let us walk the road together as we keep the baby of Bethlehem and the Holy City of the King ever before our eyes!
Prayer: God, my rock and my refuge, may I meditate on what it means to rest secure in your presence, filled with expectancy and hope. And may I lead another through the rough ways with deliberate and joyful steps toward the Kingdom, our heavenly Jerusalem…Amen!
God with us, securely dwelling,
In the manger of our hearts,
Holy solace, sweet communion,
Love incarnate now imparts.