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  • Writer's pictureAnneliese Abbott

Not By Bread Alone: Why I Have Peace This Christmas


2023 squash harvest
This is only a third of the bounteous squash harvest we were blessed with in 2023

This year, we had a wonderful bumper crop of almost every vegetable in our garden. For months, our hallway and entryway were full of brimming bushel baskets of tomatoes, green beans, summer squash, and the biggest harvest of winter squash we’ve ever had. We’re still enjoying delicious meals of roasted buttercup or acorn squash, fresh potatoes and carrots from the root cellar, and still-green kale and Swiss chard straight from the garden.

 

I love spending time out in the garden, digging in the soil and marveling at the amazing intricacy of life. Accidentally dislodging an earthworm and then watching it slowly wriggle its way back underground. Looking at the plant that was just green leaves a week ago and seeing a ripe head of cauliflower popping out, ready to be picked. Cooking up delicious dinners full of kale and whatever other vegetables are in season. Savoring the sweetness of a roasted squash on a chilly winter day.

 

And yet as much as I enjoy my garden, it doesn’t help me through all of the trials in life. Sometimes when hard things happen or I get depressed, even picking veggies and cooking them can’t soothe the ache inside. Sometimes I get so sad that I can’t even enjoy my favorite kind of winter squash. At times like that, the only way I can find peace and hope is to turn to the One who made both me and everything in my garden.

 

God created humans to live in a garden and cultivate it and keep it. But when Adam and Eve sinned by breaking God’s command, their relationship to the land was cursed. It would now be hard to grow food, and they would suffer from disease and death. Worst of all, they were doomed to be separated from God’s presence—the only true source of joy and peace—forever.

 

But in His great mercy, God sent his Son, Jesus, to take our sins, die in our place, and restore that right relationship with God. On that first Christmas, over 2000 years ago, Jesus was born as a little baby in Bethlehem, both fully God and fully human. He lived a sinless life on this earth, was crucified for our sins, was buried, and was raised to life on the third day. And now God’s free gift of salvation is available to anyone who confesses with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead.

 

Many years ago, I accepted that free gift of salvation. And now when I struggle through hard times, I turn to God’s Word—the Bible—for help. One of the great promises that helps me when I start to become anxious and worried is in Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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.” It really is true! When I surrender my worries and anxieties to God, I am filled with that peace that passes understanding. It fills a spiritual need that is just as deep and intense as physical hunger. As Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

 

This Christmas, I am thankful to God for the wonderful harvest He blessed us with this year. And I am even more thankful that Jesus became human that first Christmas so that we could be reconciled to God. Now that peace that passes understanding is available to anyone who asks for it. That is truly something to celebrate!

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cgesch63
3월 28일

It's not Christmas now. But I just re-read this piece about "Not by Bread Alone," and am as appreciative as the first time I read it. Thank you very much for writing these things which I have also experienced as a true way of stating the way life in this world is intended to work.


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