Our church is centering daily devotions during Advent on a word for each day. Here is what I wrote about the word for today.
We are sailing in very rough waters this Advent that is like none other any of us have experienced. Not often in 2020 have I felt “calm.” Worried, angry, depressed, all of the above! But I haven’t achieved a state of true calmness very often this year. ‘And that’s why Advent in 2020 is so necessary and so relevant. Mary wasn’t calm when the angel told her she would be pregnant with God’s son. And I’m pretty sure she wasn’t calm when Joseph told her they were going to bed down in a stable, or when she went into labor there among the livestock.
As soon as I was asked to write this devotion on the word “Calm” I thought about this story from Mark 4: “A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. “
That calming of the sea reminded me of another experience Diana and I had two years ago when we were blessed to be able to visit Australia and New Zealand. The picture here was taken on a sail boat in the bay of Akoroa, New Zealand. The water that day there was perfectly smooth and peaceful, but the calmest part of that excursion was when the captain sailed near the cave in the picture. As we sat there perfectly still he played some recorded organ music. Echoing off the walls of that cave, the music was as awe inspiring as any pipe organ in a Gothic cathedral.
That was one of the calmest experiences of my life. But here’s the thing. We don’t have to go clear to New Zealand to be calm. All we have to do is have enough faith to ask Jesus to calm whatever stormy sea we’re in right now—and believe the God of Advent will provide.