May the Peace of Christ be with you.

My Lectio Divina for Christmas Day (Philippians 2:5) takes me to a place I have never entered. We throw around the word, Peace is such a cavalier way that it almost becomes like eating oatmeal without the sugar and a dab of butter for flavor.

This is the day when we don’t just think about what Christ did for us, but actually have in us the mind of Christ Jesus. It is a time to feel again the peace that the world cannot give.

John 14:26-28 NRSVCE – But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom – Bible Gateway

26 But the Advocate,[a] the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. 28 You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I am coming to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I.

On Christmas, we not only remember that God became one of us, but also that he died, rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and waits for us at the right hand of the Father, with all our loved ones. You either believe that or you don’t. St. Thomas Aquinas said, “With Faith no answer is necessary, and without Faith, no answer is possible.” Christmas is when our hearts sit on the park bench in the dead of winter and long for the coming of Christ. In Advent, we strained to have Christ fill up the potholes in our lives. Why? Like preparing to go to a fancy restaurant to eat, we dress up our behaviors to prepare to be worthy to receive the only meal that propels us to live…Forever.

At Christmas Eucharist, Christ is really present (think about that) and that same Christ gives us His body and blood to sustain us, but not only that, he gives his peace (not as the world gives peace). The peace of Christ is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of Love itself in our hearts. God gives us, now, everything He is. When I receive that, I want to share it with others such as yourself. and give it to others at the sign of peace in the Eucharist. This Christmas I have been gifted by Christ and he only bids me do one thing, “love one another as I have loved you.” What a friend we have in Jesus,” as the song says.

A personal note: I have been blessed to be asked to present Cistercian spirituality (as I know it) to the prisoners at Wakula Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, Florida. This is my third presentation and, so far, they want this broken-down, old, Lay Cistercian to come back. Please pray for me, my team, the Chaplains, the guards, the prisoners and their victims so that all of us have the peace of Christ in our hearts “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and forever. The God who is, who was and who is to come at the end of the ages. –Cistercian doxology

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