The Peace of Thanksgiving

“Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)

It’s a wonderful promise – and it’s easy to miss.

It’s the promise of an inner peace, a peace which calms both the mind and soul, which “passeth all understanding.”  The New Living translation  calls it a peace which “exceeds anything we can understand” and it is intimately related to thanksgiving.

Not the civil holiday – the life attitude.

Oh, I like turkey and dressing as much as anybody.  I love pumpkin or pecan pie – or a slice of each – with whipped cream just like most people.  I enjoy seeing family, telling and listening to stories, watching corny holiday movies on TV.  I even enjoy hearing the easy listening radio station playing Christmas songs – for at least the first ten thousand times they play them.

But this peace – this peace of God – doesn’t come from any of that.

No, the Bible says that the peace of God comes to us mysteriously, wondrously, when we turn over our deepest anxiety and fear over to God, thanking Him, for taking the load from us.  It says the inner peace which comes in a way we cannot even begin to explain  – which comes when we need it most – comes when we thank God for all of our circumstances, regardless of what they are, and how He is present in our lives to address them.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense.   But I believe it is real because I have experienced it many times.

So, let the Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities begin.  Ho, ho, ho and all that jazz.  But also, let the peace of God settle on your hearts and minds.  Quietly, fully, grace-fully, let it come.  Come, Lord Jesus.

It will boggle your mind and fill your soul.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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