And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him or knows Him. You know Him because he abides with you, and he will be in you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
It was a cool, dark night as we walked out of Shepherd's cave across from Bethlehem. We had to walk up a small incline to get out and this led us to look directly skyward. The stars were so bright it looked as if we could reach up and touch them. In the distance were the lights of Bethlehem. What a sight it must have been for the people who were awaiting the coming of the Savior in their time of trial. They were waiting, waiting for peace and freedom from the Romans. Just as their times seemed dark and uncertain, so our times also seem that way. We wait to celebrate the birthday of our Lord who has both come, died and arisen. Though Jesus is no longer physically with us we have the assurance of the Holy Spirit present with us. No matter how things go astound us, we know that because the Holy Spirit is with us, we do have peace in His presence. Growing up, I do not remember learning much about the Holy Spirit in church, but I remember my mother telling of the Holy Ghost. Her words were comforting when I was frightened. Man plans, but God wills, she would say. Peace, do not be afraid.
Dear Creator, Savior, and Sanctifier, strengthen my faith so that whatever happens, I know that you are in charge and grant us your peace. May we await the celebration with firm belief that all is in your hands. Amen
Zona M. Carlson
Bethlehem Lutheran Church
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