Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Nov 21, 2013 | Comments (0)

Advent I: The Christmas Peace

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for Advent I

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

Matthew 24:43 “If the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.”

Advent is the season of preparation for Christmas. It has four Advent Sundays and two Weeks after Christmas Sundays. In between the four and the two is Christmas Day. We can take these weeks one by one or we can see them as a total experience of Christmas. The message of the angels to the shepherds is “Peace on earth, good will to all people”.

The Christmas Peace cannot be found in getting all the shopping, cooking and other ducks in line so we can feel at peace. The Christmas Peace is found within ourselves. It is already there. We need to find the Christmas Peace so we can celebrate the Christmas event. The Peace is all about the Presence of Jesus born into this World. The Word, according to John’s Gospel, is that Jesus came into the World and the World did not know Him. The World is not that place out there. The World is this place in us. It is the place where we often forget about the birth of the Spirit of Jesus that God has poured into our hearts.

There are those who are not experiencing the Peace. Think of a time or place that you have been seeking this Peace. It can be in our personal lives, in a relationship, or dealing with a difficult situation. If you want to celebrate Christmas in a different way, you have come to the right spot.

What have you tried doing to get or regain this Peace? The first thing we do is try to change the situation. Have you tried doing that and what have you tried? The problem is it can be an unchangeable event. You must take the next step. If you cannot change the event you will have to change your attitude about it. If it is still there, you obviously have not been able to do that. It can be one of those events which you can think nothing good about. There are many of those unchangeable times in our life in the past, present and in the future.

The reason you are still not feeling at peace about these events is they are unchangeable. You are using the wrong solution.

The spiritual question to ask about the scripture is why didn’t the owner of the house know when the thief was coming? In worldly thinking it was because no one knows then the thief will come. We have to be ready 24/7. We have to be ready for anything. When we are not, be ready to get blasted from the side or from behind us. We need to be looking all the time, no matter what time it is. “WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE!” is what we continually tell ourselves and others.

Jesus is like the magician who sets it up on one hand and moves with the other to see if we are awake. As long as we are trying to change the unchangeable we are sleeping. It is not going to work. We will never find our Peace. We need to shift from away trying to figure out how to change our thinking about the unchangeable so we can feel good. We need to shift into feeling the Peace of Christmas to change how we think in the situation.

The reason the owner of the house did not know when the thief was to come is because he was not experiencing the Christmas Peace. Getting ready gracefully is not a physical but a spiritual event. It is not rational but conscious. Grace knows the Spirit of Jesus has been poured into our heart. He is already abides in us. Jesus is only about a foot away from us.

We have to learn how to abide in Him. We need to shift from the head to the heart. We have all sensed His Presence. We just do not know how we do it. We never will know how it is done. It is like pointing to something in the distance and the person keep looking at the finger. There is a shift from looking physically to seeing spiritually. We all do it. We can only know how we do it by doing it.

Godly thinking is not that Jesus is coming to us physically. It is we who come to Him spiritually. When we sense His Presence, we come to Him. Worldly thinking tends to respond out of fear and dread. We need to get it right. What if we don’t get it right? We can’t be at Peace. The truth is we can be in the Christmas Peace now, no waiting. We can be in the Peace no matter what happens. Granted we must get some things done. But the difference is we do it in the Peace in order to get it done. The Christmas day is coming. The Christmas Spirit is already here.

THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.

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