Gifts of Advent: Peace Amidst Fear
December 2021

Advent is a season of reflection but also of anticipation. It means “coming” or “arrival”. For the Church, it means the arrival of Christ. Oswald J. Smith said, "We talk of the second coming. Half the world has never heard of the first." This month we are reflecting on the first advent and remembering some moments when our missionaries experienced the gifts of hope, love, joy, and peace on the field as they prepare for and anticipate the second advent. 

By Michael Smiel

Fear has been tugging at people’s hearts for much of the past two years—fear of getting sick, keeping a job, paying rent, and fear of the unknown. At the beginning of 2021, even in the midst of the pandemic, a member of SEND’s Diaspora | North America team remembered their gift of peace and set out to share it. In this season of advent, let us remember and share this gift of peace as well. 

They said, “it is in the midst of our daily challenge to fight back against fear that God calls us to lift our eyes heavenward, to be faithful, and to remember his truth, who he is, and that wherever we are, he is with us and he is our God.” This wisdom brings to mind those characters of the Old Testament who were faced with fear in their stories; Moses going before Pharoah (Exodus 3:10), Joshua entering the Promised Land (Joshua 1:5), David in all the trials of his life (Psalm 23:4), Israel before her enemies (Isaiah 41:10). In all of their stories, God said he would be with them and this was reason not to be afraid.  

However, it is not only in the Old Testament or even in the times of the New Testament that people experienced peace because of God’s presence. It is a gift we can experience every day because of what began in that first advent. Jesus was born and was Immanuel, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23), in the flesh! His birth led to our opportunity to have peace with God through faith in Immanuel (Romans 5:1). Yet, his presence with us didn’t stop at his birth or when he ascended. At the end of Matthew’s Gospel Jesus promises that he will keep being Immanuel. He said, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Even as I write this, I close my eyes, I breathe deeply, feel fear melt away and a warm comforting calm takes its place within me. I recognize the feeling as peace. God is with me. 

“But what about those who don’t have a relationship with God? What helps them cope with their fear?” asked the missionary. They encourage us to share with our neighbors, immigrants, refugees, friends, and family, that “when you feel overwhelmed, you pray and ask for God’s peace and grace.” In that moment of discussion about their own fears, you allow them to see through a window into your own spiritual life and relationship with God. The hope being that, “as others hear us pray and see us live out our faith with wisdom, grace, mercy and love, they will want to know how they, too, can have a peace that passes understanding.”   

Do you have this peace? With whom will you share the gift of peace that you have been given? 

Read the original blog here:
In a Scary Season, How We Handle Fear Can Minister to Others

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