Today’s devotional is a prayer written by Rebecca Barlow Jordan for Peace and Joy for each one of us at Christmastime.
“Over two thousand years ago a band of shepherds heard some startling news from angelic visitors: “Be not afraid;” “good news of great joy;” “peace on earth and good will.” Seriously? But that was then, and now is now. Is that joy and peace still available? If you’re craving those things for your life this year, no matter where you are, here’s a prayer for peace and joy to be a reality in your life this year at Christmas:
Lord, in a season when every heart should be happy and light, many of us are struggling with the heaviness of life—burdens that steal the joy right out of our Christmas stockings. Crazy weather disasters strike at unsuspecting areas, ravaging peaceful homes and interrupting the lives of unsuspecting residents. Tragedy arrives as innocent victims suffer, and an inner voice whispers, “Be afraid!” We need your peace, Jesus.
Lord, we still carol the wonderful message, huddled beneath winter caps on snow-covered porches, or from churches, led by enthusiastic musicians or choir members. Yet we confess that our hearts are too often filled with wonder of a different kind: wondering when the bills will be paid, when the terror will stop, when rest will come. Will it ever? Is the message still true?
In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up that good news again. This Christmas, make it real in our hearts. Never have we needed Your joy and peace more than now. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh. Forgive us for forgetting—that Your love never changes, never fades, and that You never abandon the purpose for which You came:
to save us from our sinful condition, and to give us life eternal, the joy of relationship with a holy God. Your birth—and Your death—sealed Your promise to us forever.For those whose hearts are battered by sorrow or broken relationships, for those whose lives know only conflict and confusion, for those whose bodies are tired and tested beyond their ability to endure this year—precious Savior, draw them close to You. Let them know You are still the same Jesus who was born of a virgin, not in a hospital but an animal barn, laid in a manger of hay. You are still the One sent by a heavenly Father who offered not condemnation for our sins, but love and forgiveness—and daily, divine fellowship.
We not only need Your peace and joy; Lord, we crave it. You’ve promised rest for the weary, victory for the battle-scarred, peace for the anxious, and acceptance for the broken hearted—not just at Christmas, but every day of every year.
Release the joy in us that’s been crushed by pride, wrong priorities, or world events. Tear down the strongholds that have held us captive far too long. Extinguish the flames of apprehension that rob us of a calm, quiet spirit. Show us again the beauty of that holy night so many centuries ago.
Your name is still called “Wonderful,” “Counselor,” “The Mighty God,” “The Everlasting Father,” and “The Prince of Peace.” As Your children, we cry out for a fresh filling, and a new awareness of Who You are. We choose by faith to make the “good news of great joy” a reality in our own lives, so others can see us as lighted trees of life, pointing to You this Christmas. We know one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that You are Lord. And we also know that peace on earth can only come when hearts find peace with You.”
(c) 2015 Rebecca Barlow Jordan Used with Permission rebeccabarlowjordan.com