Advent is, above all else, a season of hope—a virtue that is all too rare in our world. To live as a person of hope is to behave in such a manner as to draw suspicion that we are behaving somewhat erratically as far as worldly norms go. This new type of behavior—what some may even call erratic behavior (the behavior that led people to conclude that the Apostles were “under the influence” on Pentecost)—is characterized by nine attitudes. I call them 9 Advent Attitudes. Today, we look at Advent Attitude #2. (Drawn from my book, Under the Influence of Jesus: The Transforming Experience of Encountering Jesus.)
Advent Attitude #3: An Unwavering Sense of Serenity
As a kid, I was particularly enamored with the following characters from TV and movies: Sheriff Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show), Glinda the good witch (The Wizard of Oz), and Underdog (voiced by Wally Cox). They shared one thing in common. They were unflappable. Sheriff Taylor didn’t even need to carry a gun. Glinda was the only one who didn’t cower when the Wicked Witch of the West appeared. And Underdog…well, “There’s no need to fear. Underdog is here!” Say no more.
I always wanted to have that sense of security that was unwavering. In Scripture, that’s known as peace. Peace is what results when our will and the will of God correspond within the human heart, thus creating security. When we are anchored in God, we experience deep contentment and inner peace. During Advent, we anticipate the coming of the Prince of Peace about whom the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to people of good will.”
Kingdom dwellers anchored in the Prince of Peace are capable of navigating stormy waters without fear. In reality, every human being is grounded—centered—in God who created us and sustains us. Unfortunately, our awareness of this groundedness fluctuates in the face of life’s turmoil. The result is the loss of peace and contentment. We become more like Deputy Barney Fife, the Cowardly Lion, and Polly Purebred than Sheriff Taylor, Glinda, or Underdog.
A key to maintaining this peace and contentment is prayer—especially contemplative prayer, which takes to heart the Scriptural exhortation, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46) Prayer does not create a bubble around us to prevent bad things from happening, but rather helps us to place our trust in God who will uphold us through the moments of turmoil. We do not pray to escape reality but rather to remain in touch with a deeper reality. Likewise, prayer assists us in not only overcoming the external noise of our lives but also the internal noise or chaos of our soul. Sitting in a quiet place does not ensure peace if our inner life is in turmoil. Prayer assists us in facing our inner restlessness and finding peace by learning to still our minds, bodies, and hearts and to anchor ourselves in God so that his will may be done on earth (in our hearts) as it is in heaven.
Practicing an Unwavering Sense of Serenity
- Peace is that reality that occurs when heaven and earth connect—when God’s will reigns in our hearts as it does in heaven. Take some time to prayerfully pray the Lord’s Prayer with special attention to the words, “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”
- Begin and end your day with a few moments of quiet, asking God to reign over any turmoil in your heart and mind.
- Think of someone in your life who seems unflappable in the face of turmoil—someone who has an unwavering sense of serenity. Model his or her behavior especially in the face of stressful situations.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. (Col 3:15)