Do you ever feel hit hard by the grind of life? Sometimes things can be rough. Hardscrabble hardly does it justice. These past 20+ months, for many, have been sorrowful, stressful, fearful, and confusing. How does our Christmas faith speak to times like these?
Romans 15:13 gets right to the heart of the matter:
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope."
This is a great bridge passage us taking us from last Sunday to today to next Sunday. Last Sunday, our theme was hope. Next Sunday our theme is joy. Today, our theme is peace. These are promises from God for our lives in troubling times.
Paul is saying that, in Jesus Christ, we have a lasting source for meaning in this life. Paul is saying that, as we trust in God, we will experience hope and peace and joy. No matter what happens in our lives, no amount of horribleness, can take away our hope and peace and joy. That's what Paul means when he says we will abound in these things.
The conversion of the apostle Paul happened on the road to Damascus. Damascus is a city in Syria. It has a rich history. Andrew Zimmern, of The Food Network, once did a culinary tour of Syria. It was a lovely program. That was before the most recent civil war. The country, and its people, have been deva