Psalm 85:8 “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for He will speak peace to His people, to His faithful, to those who turn to Him in their hearts.” (NRSV)

            Sometimes we get so busy at this time of year that we forget to listen to what God is saying to us. We get so wrapped up in meeting deadlines – personal and work-related – that we set God aside and promise within our hearts to get back to Him later. It’s not that we mean to diminish God’s presence or lessen His influence over us, we are just too busy for our own good and end up harassing ourselves with stress and pressure, which keeps us awake at night and makes us tired throughout the day. We become our own worst taskmasters and complicate Christmas in ways that were never intended by God.

            When I came across today’s highlighted verse, I knew it was meant for me. I’ve been listening too much to other things – the nightly news and political panels, the urgent cry to get everything done, the clamor of crowds, and the voice in my head that keeps telling me I’m not doing enough to make things perfect for other people. I listen to them all and buckle under the burden of these relentless sounds. And yet somewhere, God is saying something substantial and is patiently waiting for me to listen. He’s speaking peace to me, and everyone around me. He is gently and quietly offering His gift of shalom – the perfect peace for our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. We’re just not listening, which is sad, because God really wants us to know, receive, and experience the perfect gift of this holy season.

            So today, I’ve decided to let go of all those stressful things and loud noises around me. Instead, I’ll let God do what He does best – to speak quietly to my heart and breathe peace into my weary soul.

Point to ponder:  How much peace do I need from God?

Prayer: Lord God, speak quietly to our hearts and help us to free ourselves from ourselves. Help us to stop, wait, and listen so that we may hear Your beautiful and loving words of peace. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Nativity drawings called “Mary Knew.” If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. If you would like to give feedback about today’s message, please send him an email to