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sleep in heavenly peace

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“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalm 4:8

God’s perfect keeping keeps us in perfect peace.

Even though the night may not be so silent, the Prince of Peace still reigns, so that we can sleep in heavenly peace.

Throughout the month of December, I have a personal tradition of reading the Advent story over and over again. The repetitious reading of the account of the coming Messiah cultivates an attitude of worship in my heart as the anticipation of Christmas Day approaches. And, subsequently, each year I find a different theme that stands out and resonates with me. Three years ago, as we awaited Jasper’s birth, anticipation was the word/idea that popped out to me throughout the Christmas season. This year it has been peace.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

A child was born.

As the story unfolds in the second chapter of Luke, we find Mary and Joseph far from home, a baby soon to arrive, and no room in the inn.

There were shepherds living out in the fields of Bethlehem, and in all likelihood, keeping and caring for the flocks that provided the perfect lambs from which the Temple offerings were chosen. Looked down upon by the “good” people of the day, the thought that the very shepherds who looked after the Temple lambs would be the first to see the Lamb of God is something quite profound.

The night, perhaps not silent but filled with echoes of a baby’s cry, the baying of sheep and the rustling of feet moving in and out of the child’s first dwelling, was the scene in which we find the Prince of Peace joined with humanity.

He didn’t know it yet. He was just a tiny, innocent, wrinkly newborn. He had no idea that his first breath here with us was the beginning of redemption for mankind.

I can only imagine his fragile, ever-so-dependent little body curling up on Mary’s chest and drifting off into a peaceful, contented sleep while the chaos of the stable swirled about.

All was well.

This is the picture in my head of what I imagine to be God’s intention for each one of us. We, too, can sleep in heavenly peace in spite of the noise and the disarray that fills our daily lives.

The peace that radiated from Jesus’ presence must have left both Mary and Joseph, and their shepherd visitors, speechless. Just a baby, but fully God.

The Prince of Peace.

Sleeping in heavenly peace.

Christmas Day is only a few short days away. I am sure that, by now, most of us have attended a number of parties, baked a copious amount of cookies, visited family, watched our children perform in Christmas plays and pageants, driven through neighborhoods looking at lights while singing along to our favorite Christmas carols, and wrapped countless gifts, or at least have a closet full of countless gifts to wrap.

It is easy to lose sight of the most important part of the season when the urgent tugs for our attention everywhere we turn.

This story, that most of us know all too well, gets lost in the celebration of the season. We get so caught up in the reindeer and mistletoe, shepherds’ costumes and O Holy Nights, that we somehow forfeit the wonder of God’s most precious gift for “getting Christmas right”.

I think Jesus wants us to cherish this story a little more deeply in our hearts. I think he longs to be our Prince of Peace. I think that we are given the opportunity each year to pause and reflect, to invite peace into our lives, and to weigh more intentionally the profound glory of Christ’s birth.

This year, let us focus more intently upon the Prince of Peace. Let us invite the holiness of God’s gift of peace into our celebrations and our traditions. And let us release the urgent drive for more of “this” and more of “that” for a little more “all is calm” and “all is bright”. Let us let go of the perfect Christmas and embrace a more peaceful one.

And, like that tiny babe, wrapped in cloths and surrounded by love in the form of a simple teenage girl, an impoverished manger, and a bunch of dusty herdsmen, let us close our eyes, submit our lives into God’s perfect keeping, and sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night


All is calm, all is bright


Round yon Virgin, mother and child


Holy infant so tender and mild


Sleep in heavenly peace


Sleep in heavenly peace


Silent Night, by Joseph Mohr

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One Response to “sleep in heavenly peace”

  1. Judy Hayburn says:

    Beautifully penned. Such an important reminder.

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