The Heart’s War Against Peace
By Jonathan Falk, Student Writer
Perhaps you have felt it as I have – the panic rises in your heart as you stare at some blank page that needs to have an essay on it, or when you try and push yourself to finish just one of the thousand things it feels like you have to do, and yet you still find yourself halted for hours on end having accomplished nothing: the paralysis of anxiety and worry stopping you dead in your tracks. You wish you could overcome this feeling, but that desire itself somehow causes you to stress even more. You know in your mind that Christ says, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” and yet that truth can never quite reach your heart when you need it to. While you may know that it is the truth, the anxious heart prevents it from being true to you. This is the goal of the anxious heart: to never give us a chance to breathe, to keep us in fear, and to cause us to doubt the truth of God. The consequence is a heart at war, in desperate need of peace.
And yet, peace can sometimes only come at the end of a struggle in which one side yields. Our anxious hearts, then, must surrender to Christ, and agree to his terms – absolute trust in him. When Christ states that God feeds the birds and they have no need to store food for themselves, our response might be, “Well – what if God does not feed them?” Or, in how the clothing of the wealthy King Solomon does not compare to how God clothes the grasses of the field, we may ask, “Well – what if God causes the grass to wither?” Such responses are often motivated by our fear, under the guise of being “healthy skepticism” or “common sense.” While fear and anxiety might convince us that we ought to see the starving birds of the world as proof of God’s untrustworthiness, the term of our heart’s treaty with God is not to fear that God will not be there for us, but rather the trust he always will be. It is only at this time when we can have peace, and have our anxiety put to rest. For that reason, we trust in Christ’s response to our anxiety: “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?” And how might we convince our anxious hearts to trust? Paul says, “By prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Anxiety wishes to destroy us, yet when we surrender it to God and agree to his terms – trusting in him – anxiety is done away with, and we will be at peace with God. This advent season, may you and I learn to trust in God’s promises through prayer, petition, and thanksgiving; submitting ourselves to our Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, wholly and completely and without fear, so that we might live in the peace that anxiety so desperately wants to keep away from us.
By Ana Soares, Assistant Professor in TESOL
Christmas is the most special holiday for my family. Every year, we decorate our home. We usually do not celebrate Advent nor have a Christmas tree up. I would say that the most special decor item that we have in our house is our nativity set. It reminds us that Jesus is what Christmas is all about. He is our Saviour, and this time of the year should reflect our gratitude for the blessings that God has given us. My family and I also love to take a family picture at the end of the year. It is very important for us to spend the holidays together and have our family dinner on Christmas Eve and our Christmas lunch. We also love to watch Hallmark films and write our New Year’s resolutions. Before we write what we would like to see happening the following year, we open our resolution from the last holiday season and reflect on what blessings God gave us throughout the year. This is a family tradition that we have done ever since my daughter and son were children.