About the author: Jenna has been working with ZPC Student Ministry since the summer of 2017. She married Jake in May and they have a sweet Great Dane puppy named Darla.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: Hebrews10:5-10; Micah 5:2-5a
In our reading today, the writer of Hebrews contrasts the Mosaic law with the new covenant under Jesus. In case you need a refresher, God’s people in the Old Testament had to bring sacrifices and offerings to maintain a relationship with the Lord. The presence of the Lord was restricted to the innermost room of the temple, which was completely off-limits to the average person. Even more so, sacrifices and offerings were not long-lasting, and they were never perfect. This meant folks had to constantly work for a relationship with God. Talk about the opposite of peace!
Luckily, this is not so for us! In Jesus, we are under a new covenant. God himself became the perfect sacrifice, doing away with the sacrificial system and a works-based salvation. And, his sacrifice is eternal! With his perfect sacrifice, we are covered in forgiveness and grace. No more working for it. No more insecurity. No more condemnation. We are under the strength of the Lord, dwelling securely (Micah 5:4). Now that sounds like peace.
The thing about peace is that it isn’t based upon our to-do lists or responsibilities. The Hebrew word for “peace” in this verse is “shalom,” which means completeness or wholeness. To be “at peace” doesn’t mean getting everything done or having no problems. It means being in right-standing with God, unified with him. And guess what—with Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, we have this peace! He offers us an inner-peace, a peace despite the chaos around us. We are enough and complete in him.
When we think of the holiday season, I doubt the first word that comes to mind is “peace.” This season is filled with endless to-do lists, errands, wrapping presents, and parties. Our schedules fill up while our bodies feel overwhelmed and exhausted. Peace? Not so much. Stillness? Nope. Or maybe we feel lonely, missing loved ones or old holiday traditions. Maybe we’re experiencing new challenges or changes this year. But under the new covenant, Jesus offers us a deep peace. He himself is our peace, and we are complete in him and with him. No matter how busy life gets, or the difficulties that come our way, He is our peace. Eternal, steadfast, and complete—he is our peace. Amen!
Find a comfortable spot, dim the lights (if you can), and light a candle. Turn off all noises or distractions. Set a timer for 5 minutes and practice being still. Focus on your breathing – take deep breaths and try to quiet your mind. Don’t worry if you have to redirect yourself a million times in the next 5 minutes – it’s part of the process. You may also want to slowly repeat, “In you Jesus, I have peace.” Remember that we are enough and complete in his perfect sacrifice. Hallelujah!
Thank you so much for the reminder of “peace” this season. Thank you for sending your son to sacrifice Himself for us and be our peace. We pray that we can lean into your peace, tuning ourselves in to your steadfast love, even when things are busy or difficult. Help us to fix our eyes on you. We love you and we’re so thankful for all of your blessings. We pray these things not in our name, or by anything that we have done, but according to your son’s name.