“Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:4-7)
It is Gaudete Sunday, a day to rejoice in the coming of our Savior. Paul’s words are strong. Rejoice always? Have no anxiety at all? Clearly, you may say, Paul was not a mother. Can we have no anxiety in the midst of screaming babies, messy houses, and unwashed hair? What is weighing you down: one of your children, a relationship, finances? Here are the four words, however, that change our reality: “The Lord is near.” We can find joy in the midst of life’s trials, because the Lord is with us. His coming changes everything. Let us truly allow the joy of the season, the reality of God’s profound gift of himself and his immutable goodness, transform the way we see the world. Give him your anxiety, and let your gratitude transform that worry into the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. He asks us to come. He wants us to give him our burdens. Look into the eyes of your children and rejoice that the God of the universe loved you enough to take on this flesh and change the world. “Rejoice in Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!”
PRAYER: Precious Lord, you humbled yourself and came to earth as a helpless baby so that I could be free of anxiety and find all peace and hope in you. Help me to rejoice in you even when I am struggling. This Advent let me find my peace in the joy of my salvation.