Give me a “P!”

(Thinking about Advent 3C, still.)

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:14-17, NRSV)

My Baptist grandmother (she was my mother's mother) was one of the most aggressively joyful people I've ever known.

Right up until the moment she was not.

Her determination to be joyful might have been a sort of spiritual discipline. I admired her energy when I was little, but she seemed to be plugged into something I did not understand.

I did understand music, and I liked to sing with her.

"I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart." She sang that one a lot. 

"I've got the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart." It's a lot of words to squeeze in, they go by so fast you have to hurry and can you even perceive what the words mean? The peace that passeth understanding–I'm sure I did not know. God's peace, so complete and full and high and wide that we cannot even understand it, can you really hold it down in your heart while singing a rather raucous song? It felt almost like a cheer.

Give me a "P!"

In this frenetic season, I'm looking for places to fit in a little peace, a little joy, a little gentleness. Are you finding any? I don't think we can achieve it aggressively. I think we have to sit still and let it find us.

7 thoughts on “Give me a “P!””

  1. Well, as I don’t work for a church I don’t face the frenetic there.
    And I have refused to do any shopping so far (well, one thing). I’m in a funny place where sitting still is most of what I can do. And this year there are a plethora of online Advent resources I can dip into as needed and time available.
    Let’s do a Vulcan mind meld and I’ll send you some of my quiet and you can send me some of your Pep…ok?

  2. I have a lot of solitude that unsettles my restless being – and within that solitude and restlessness (sustained by a dose of anxiety) I am trying to be peaceful. Taking a little time to sit by the fire last night, drinking a cup of tea and knitting, helped. For awhile.
    Also, wrestling with these texts too, preparing to preach for the first time in 7 weeks.
    Hope you find some peace.

  3. I’ve found a lot of peace with a simple decision: Making gifts for anyone outside of the immediate family (my sister & brother-in-law, my brother and sister-in-law and my niece & nephew – most of whom will also get items made just for them). That may sound counter-intuitive, but in a year that saw my income decline sharply (that’ll happen when pay is cut more than 25% by one of your main clients, and other places simply assigned less work), it’s very freeing.
    One of the things I enjoy most about the season is the planning and secrecy involved in finding the right gifts for people. This year I’m making more things than I’m buying, which saves money but also makes me more connected to the gifts. Sure, I spent $30 on yarn for a gift for my sister, but she will love and use what I made, and it’s not something she can buy anywhere else.
    Yes, I started making things well in advance of the holidays. But I’d rather spend time knitting, crocheting, or creating a memory book than battled the crowds to buy more junk the recipients probably don’t need – or even remember a year or so from now who gave it to them.
    I also enjoy the challenge I set for myself to give some cousins nice, useful gifts that cost me little if anything to make. I normally spend $60-$80 on their family of four, this year it might be $15-$20, total on them. And a big portion of that is because they love my chocolate-almond toffee, and the butter, sugar, vanilla, almonds, and chocolate add up! (They are all getting handmade items, too – scarves, pine cone firestarters, and maybe a reusable Swiffer cover or two.)

  4. It’s bad form to reply to oneself, but I wanted to clarify that my sister & b-i-l, brother & s-i-l, niece and nephew are my immediate family.

  5. I think you’re spot on– it’s not a wrestling match or a cheer, this finding advent peace or joy or love. It is a quiet thing. I’m finding it in unlikely places this year–at a hosptial bedside, walking, baking a few cookies.

  6. I found myself sitting in front of the church yesterday afternoon, waiting for youth to show up to go ice skating, watching cars go by thinking “this is the most peaceful moment I’ve had all week”. There was something deeply satisfying about sitting, waiting and resting in God’s care. I’m taking those moments as they come!

  7. Well, I just want to comment that the actual song line is . . .
    I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding down deep in the depths of my heart . . . and the tongue-twisting is what’s fun about it.

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