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Advent, Peace. By Thomas Studdert

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Advent blessings!  I hope you are warm and safe in this midst of our cold icy weather. 
 Today we begin the second week of Advent which focuses on peace.  Our devotional is written by Tom Studdert.  Tom is the Assistant Dean of Student Development at TCU.  Among other things he works to create an incredible first year experience and smooth transitions for TCU students.  Tom joined TCU’s team in June of this year and has already left a wonderful mark on this place.  When I met him my first week at TCU he greeted me with peace and friendship. Through his laughter, kindness, sincerity and hard work to make TCU an amazing experience for all students, he truly has embraced our whole campus with the peace of God!  I hope you are as touched by his words as I have been.
Peace is more than the absence of violence.  It is more than quiet and rest.  The peace of God is the knowledge that God embraces all of us and in that embrace we are safe and loved.  As you study, grade, and prepare for the end of the semester may you feel the embrace of God’s peace and share that peace with the world around you.
 God’s peace to you, Allison
An Advent Devotional, by Thomas Studdert
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
                                                                                                John 14:27
When I was a young boy, my grandmother took me to Sunday mass. During the service, we are called upon to show each other a sign of our peace. Everyone around us would shake hands. My grandmother would embrace me (and the others around her) with a hug while saying “peace be with you.” At age 10, this embarrassed me because she was the only person hugging while everyone else simply did the per forma handshake. I remember asking “why do you hug everyone?” Her response was “because the Lord called upon us to love one another and I show that by embracing all around me.”
My grandmother was the most important person to me, particularly as a child. She was my 5th grade teacher, my care-taker, and my biggest cheerleader. She took me to movies on Saturday and sneaked me fast-food when my mom would not allow it. She passed away when I was a freshman in high school. I remember the day clearly. My mom had called my dad and asked him to bring me to the hospital. As my grandmother was in the last stage of her life, she reached out to me, gave me a hug, and said “peace be with you.” I treasure that last moment because I no sooner got out of the hospital that I had to go back inside because she had passed away. I cried. I cried a lot. But I was, and remain, comforted in the fact that she was at peace with her Lord. And in return, that granted me peace. Her last act was to give others a piece of her by giving the peace of our Lord.
To those who know me, you know that I always hug those close to me when I greet and when I say good-bye. I do this in remembrance of my grandmother because that hug symbolizes an offering of peace. For me, it is a hug. For you, it may be a handshake or a pat on the back. Whatever it is, in this time of preparation for the birth of our Lord, let us never forget to grant God’s peace to one another. For God’s peace is the greatest gift we can ever receive.
Lord God, we thank You for your peace and in return ask You to help us to deliver Your peace to one another. Give us the strength to be an instrument of Your peace to all we know and do not know. Help us to live our lives in Your name, forever and ever. Amen.


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