Brenna and Scott GillisBY:  BRENNA GILLIS


BIBLE TEXT:  John 16:33, NKJV: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

PERSONAL REFLECTION: Ever since I was a child, I’ve been an optimist.  I strive to always believe the best about people, to trust that “good” will win over “bad,” and to hope the best for any situation in which I find myself.  In the vast majority of circumstances, this outlook serves me well.  I mean, life is far lovelier when there’s a glimmer of sunshine illuminating our path, right?  However, sometimes the stress, hardship, and turmoil of this world cloud over my normally sunny outlook.

In my work I frequently hear of circumstances that cause people mental and emotional pain. When I turn on the news I hear of tragedies occurring across the globe.  Pondering all these things, I sometimes find myself thinking, I am blessed to be alive and well…but wow, all the hardship out there… 

As I was having this thought recently, the Holy Spirit reminded me of John 16:33—a verse that many of us probably know by heart.  Jesus is very straightforward in telling us to expect turmoil and tribulation in this life; but, that statement is quickly eclipsed by the loving admonition to have cheer, knowing that the ultimate Good has conquered all that is bad, hard, and sorrowful.  As we enter a season where the words “peace” and “good cheer” seem ubiquitous, the reminder that Christ’s birth made these qualities accessible to us—despite the goings on of this world—is especially timely.  Let us graciously accept God’s gifts of peace and joy this season, allowing them to brighten our words and interactions.  Perhaps the Light permeating our outlook will draw others to find peace and good cheer in Christ this Christmas!

PERSONAL APPLICATIONThe next time I find myself thinking about the tribulations of life, I will turn my thoughts to Christ’s loving assurance that He has overcome the world!  And whenever I see the words “peace” and “cheer” this season, which should happen pretty frequently, I will thank God for these priceless gifts—made accessible to us through His Son, Jesus.

PRAYERLord, thank you for loving humanity so much, that you sent us the most beautiful and life-changing gift of all time.  Help us to keep our gaze upon Christ this season—letting His peace and joy illuminate our lives!


Brenna lives in Nashville with her husband, Scott.  She was born and raised in Wisconsin, but moved to Tennessee two years ago to study nursing at Vanderbilt.  In August, she graduated with a master of science degree in nursing; she works as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at a private practice in Murfreesboro, and is also completing a doctorate degree part-time.  When she is not working or studying, Brenna loves to spend time with her husband, family, and friends—and especially enjoys being active outdoors, dancing and Zumba-ing, and chatting with loved ones over a (large) mug of coffee!  At Life, Brenna serves in the Broo and at the Kids’ Check-in station.

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