How are you feeling just now?
Myself and my children have been crying about tier 4 / tighter restrictions which are preventing us visiting extended family in Scotland. 7-year-old Levi is repeatedly saying, “But I don’t have the Covid and I really wanted to go to Scotland to see Papa and Joel!”
Many of us are understandably experiencing negative emotions as we approach Christmas 2020. After perhaps of a year of extreme loss, lives have been turned upside down: many have not been able to see loved ones, many people’s health has suffered whether physically or mentally, many now have significant financial issues, and many have even lost dear loved ones to this virus which has become an overarching theme of 2020.
But is it possible to experience something positive deep inside us despite our circumstances?
The peace and joy that the Bible speaks of are thankfully not circumstance dependent.
In a letter in the New Testament of the Bible (Philippians 4v.7,) it talks about “the peace of God which transcends all understanding”. This “peace of God” is not merely a psychological state of mind, but an inner tranquillity based on a peace with God. This “peace of God”, and the full dimensions of God’s love and care, are beyond human comprehension.
In Psalm 16 (v.1) David says “…you fill me with joy in your presence…” at a time when he was facing distressing dangers. He displays confidence in God in writing these words currently. David’s knowledge and understanding of the character of God, brought him an inner peace that only comes from God.
In the Old Testament book of Isaiah (35v.10) there is a promise of joy over 700 years before the birth of Jesus, the Saviour. The passage is not only about the return of Jesus but also about God’s restoration plan and the miracle of salvation.
“… Gladness and joy will overtake them,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away.”
But how do I experience this peace and joy the Bible speaks of?
The amazing thing is that it is not another self-help book! – The message of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection is all about grace – unmerited favour.
We do not earn this peace and joy that God speaks of – God freely gives it and invites us into relationship with him.
As I write “we hope you experience hope and joy” on our Christmas cards this year, I am praying that my neighbours, family, and friends, truly experience this peace that transcends all understanding and a joy that is everlasting, despite our many disappointing COVID-19 related circumstances.
Jen Waterfield is married to Mark & they have 3 children Grace, Amelia & Levi