December 14, 2020
Silent night, holy night. I’m not sure I’ll ever hear this beautiful Christmas carol without thinking about this day two years ago.
The sweet instrumental notes of Silent Night drifted from Pandora. I found myself humming along with the song. Then, these words caught my attention: Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
Oh, how my heart ached. All day long I had been in an attitude of prayer for my critically ill sister, hospitalized in another state. Not long after the song ended, I got the news that she was indeed sleeping in heavenly peace, in the arms of her Savior Jesus.
Bittersweet? Maybe. Tears, for sure. Sad tears, joyful tears. Because I knew without a doubt that she was healed and whole. And safely home.
The choice I had to make was this: Would I weep and moan and become angry that God didn’t heal her this side of heaven? Or would I let the heavenly peace, the sweet peace of Jesus, rule in my heart (Colossians 3:15)? Would I quiet my heart and recognize that all is calm and bright?
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 14:27 NIV
Before He went to the cross, Jesus gave His followers a gift: His peace. We have this peace available to us today. This gift of shalom (Hebrew) has a much richer meaning than our English word “peace.” Besides an absence of turmoil and conflict, it also conveys a meaning of health, welfare. The heavenly peace offered by Jesus is knowing that God is sovereign and in control. He has our best interests, our welfare, at heart.
I’ve come to realize that in all areas of our lives, we need to embrace God’s heavenly peace. Whether it’s upcoming travel around the world, a job situation, a personal heath crisis or family issues, scripture tells us not to be anxious (Philippians 4:6).
That day two years ago, I chose God’s gift of heavenly peace. I know it’s a good gift, because I know God. HE knows what’s best for us, and what was best for my sister.
Today, I still choose to rejoice, knowing my sister is standing in love’s pure light. I choose to sing “Hallelujah, Christ the Savior is born” and He died to give us life. A life that extends far beyond this earth. Eternal life. Because of Jesus.
And when my sister and I reunite in eternity, we will rejoice and sing together these beautiful words:
Silent night, Holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin, mother and child
Holy infant, tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace
Does Christmas bring you joy or sadness? If your Joy to the World is more of a Bah, Humbug!, how can you see your circumstances through an eternal perspective? What one thing can you do to seek the things above (Colossians 3:1) and store up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20)?
Looking for an Advent Devotional? Click here for Abiding Joy.