Day 19

Final Greetings

from the 1 & 2 Thessalonians reading plan

2 Thessalonians 3:16-18, Philippians 4:6-7, Colossians 3:12-17

BY Rebecca Faires

As I write this, it is snowing outside. All my little boys are in snow pants, and I just saw them eating snow off the back bumper of my van—so, I know they are having lovely, strange snow time. My girls are sleeping; the baby is taking her first nap, and the teenager still hasn’t woken up yet. We don’t often get a blanket of snow in Tennessee, so the sleds tend to appear after a light dusting. I’ve been known to play English carols and light candles if I even smell snow in the night air. Snow looks like peace on earth. It hides all the mud and failing boxwood shrubs. It covers downed bicycles and the dog-trot paths in the woods. Snow frosts our little hilltop like a wedding cake, making everything look clean and quiet and peaceful.

Eventually, the snow melts, ducks and dogs track mud, the baby starts to cry, and I have promises to keep. It’s sumptuous and delightful to feel peace when the snow falls and everything looks peaceful. But boy howdy, circumstantial peace sure is hard to come by. Something is always clanging for your attention, while relationships and cars keep showing up broken. Our peace doesn’t come from a settled home in the snow or a steady income. (You might have to say that out loud.) Our only true peace comes from Christ. He is the Lord of peace, and gives to us generously.

And when Paul writes, “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2Thessalonians 3:16), he doesn’t mean, “May your breakfasts be uninterrupted by annoying and unanswerable lizard-based questions, and may your evenings be free of emergencies, both toe and weather-based.” The interruptions and emergencies will not stop. Once the babies stop waking you up at night, the pets will do it—and eventually, the bladder will wake us all. Perfect peace based on circumstances is unachievable. Maybe you’ve enjoyed a perfect breakfast, or even a blissful six-day vacation with your very handsome husband, but that kind of peace doesn’t last. We need peace that transcends the uncontrollable ups and downs of life.

Honestly, this kind of peace takes away the pressure. “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7). Don’t worry. Pray, and Christ will guard your heart with peace! Snow or hail, filled or hungry, rich or poor—let the peace of Christ rule your heart (Colossians 3:15).

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