Advent 2014 – Week 1 Day 4

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. ~ Colossians 3:15
Growing up in a strongly evangelical, conservative church, our family abstained from what seemed like everything fun and adventurous, including not only the demons of alcohol and tobacco, but also board games with dice, shooting pool, dancing, and playing cards. On parents’ request, being excused from square dancing in PE was one of the few benefits. Working on Sunday was an absolute no-no, but that rule still has merit. The one thing the church’s practices didn’t restrict was food. The word “fellowship” comes from the Greek for “chocolate layer cake”. It’s a well-known fact that church ladies invented the pot-luck supper. Pot luck at an evangelical church was not to be missed. Families brought heaps of homemade deliciousness to share with each other… chicken and dumplings, fresh garden-grown vegetables, perfect fried chicken, beef roasts with gravy and mashed potatoes, warm yeast rolls and real butter, green jello oddities, and all manner of home-baked cakes, pies, and cookies. And we were thankful. We can conjure up the memory of the aromas and the flavors from long ago, but sadly it doesn’t do a thing toward recreating that meal. Trying to create and cook it without guidance would surely be a failure. We need to identify and bring together all the ingredients that build one on the other to create the rich and satisfying result. We need the recipe! Looking toward Christmas, what do you want more than anything else? More gifts and more bills? Maybe a second job? More rushing and more stress? No, not likely. Even the good, honorable things, the nostalgic yet temporal things – giving special gifts, hosting visitors, enjoying extended family, playing out old traditions and making new ones – are only good for a fleeting time. You will soon realize what you want is “a peace that settles your soul.” But how do you have this peace that results in a settled, thankful soul? We are so blessed; we have the recipe in God’s word.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  ~ Colossians 3:12-17