Prepare to listen. Light the pink candle. Take a moment to be still and silent, then pray: Surely God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid. (Isaiah 12:2)
Read: Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If Zephaniah challenged us to reflect on God rejoicing over us, today’s reading invites us to reflect on the more familiar, us rejoicing in the Lord. What intrigues me most in these verses is what follows Paul’s two-fold instruction, to rejoice. We might expect him to urge us to sing or dance or smile or shout out praises. But instead he urges, ‘Let your gentleness be known to everyone.’ Is that because gentleness is related to rejoicing? Grumpy people, incapable of rejoicing, are also somewhat violent people, at least not very gentle. Paul seems to suggest that rejoicing will form gentleness within us. And gentleness, Paul states, is a characteristic virtue necessary for the follower of Jesus. It’s also a characteristic that is urgently needed in our present polarized and divisive climate. There is too much violence and not enough gentleness today. Rejoice! And let your gentleness be known to everyone.
What would it take for you to rejoice in the Lord, rather than in pleasant circumstances, anticipation of good gifts on Christmas day? Make a commitment to God and yourself to pause periodically today simply to rejoice in the Lord.
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Lord Jesus, help me remember through this day to pause and rejoice in you, who you are and what you came to do, and may I show gentleness to others. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world, rejoicing and letting your gentleness be known.