An Excerpt from “Receive Him: A Disciple’s Advent”
Philippians 4:4-6; Luke 2:22-40
Anna had many reasons to grumble, complain, and lament.
She had been married young, but after only seven years, her husband died leaving her alone and childless. In her day and time, there was no way she could provide for herself. How would she live? What would she do?
Good thing Anna knew the three R’s of peace!
First, despite her circumstances, she rejoiced in the Lord. For eighty-four years, “she did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day.” She went to God and rejoiced in Him, knowing that He was leaning in toward her to care for her.
Second, her reasonableness was known to all. She focused on the core of what really mattered, leaning in toward others, encouraging them with God’s word, His promises, and His truth.
Finally, Anna took her requests to God. She knew He would be able to abundantly answer. She offered her heart-felt petition for Him to redeem His people.
Her rejoicing, reasonableness, and requests allowed her to live each day in the peace of God, and because she dwelt in His consuming peace, she was able to recognize the infant Savior on the day His parents brought Him to the temple!
Simeon, too, an old man who probably could have complained about aches and pains, instead spent his time rejoicing in the Lord, leaning in toward the God who was leaning in toward him. Simeon longed for the consolation of the Lord to put an end to Israel’s chronic rebellion.
His reasonableness shines as he approaches the young couple with the infant Christ. “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” He leans toward them, encouraging them even though some of the truths he shares are difficult.
Simeon’s request was simply that he would be able to see the Lord’s Christ before the day of his death.
Paul later details the three R’s of Peace: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice! Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Paul knew, as did Anna and Simeon, that the recipe for peace was to rejoice in the Lord, be reasonable in interactions with others, and take your requests to Him.
Activity: Make rice crispie treats! The recipe only has 3 ingredients: rice crispies, butter, and marshmallows. When you stir them all together, a yummy treat results! Rejoicing, being reasonable, and taking our requests to God are like a recipe for peace in Christ!