“They say ‘Peace, peace, but there is no peace.”
Jeremiah 6:14 is on to something with this line. Although the context of this verse is rooted in a serious time in Israel’s history, many of us cannot help but hear this mantra in our heads as we scurry around the entire month of December. I thought Christmas was supposed to be cold…but it has many of us Mommas feeling like a hot mess!
The signs are everywhere; lit up in silver and gold, hanging from banners or light poles lining the streets. We know we should be feeling it, but deep down, we just hear our to-do list, scan our event calendar or dread an upcoming awkward family party. Thinking about the word Peace can leave many of us feeling depressed or feeling that a calm, serene holiday season will elude us once again.
The question is, what does Peace mean to you and how can you have it this Christmas season?
Does true Christmas peace lie in the gifts and materials you are so thoughtfully preparing? I mean, we all love the idea of having all of our gifts purchased and wrapped under the tree by December 15th. Having a thoughtful gift for your spouse, the perfect sentimental gift for your mother-in-law, and mentally-stimulating gifts for your children is what it’s all about…right? Coming in under budget or being able to hand-make some of your gifts is clearly an added blessing. But down under all the shopping, spending, wrapping, and giving is an exhausted parent and sometimes even a drained bank account. Is this really where our Christmas peace lies?
For others, Christmas peace lies in the quality of the time spent with family and friends. Your peace depends on harmony among your family. You need a Christmas break where your children get along, setting aside their regular sinful behaviors for a more angelic temperament. And clearly you and your spouse must be in perfect agreement about all the events, plans, travel and spending you’ll be doing this season. It’s a delicate balance; one off comment from your in-laws or a dispute with your husband about finances could shatter your entire Christmas peace. Harmony amongst your family must be protected at all costs because that’s the heart of Christmas…right?
For the last group of us, Christmas peace can be found in a quiet calendar. We desire nights at home with the family, cozied up by the fireplace or watching Rudolph. But alas, it never quite works out that way. Between the Christmas programs, work events, church get-togethers, extended family dinners, and of course, travel, we might as well throw out the calendar and paste on an exhausted smile. In all this chaos, it’s not like we are going to find much peace anyways. It must be reserved only for those people who actually have their lives together.
Thoughtful gifts, family harmony, and quality time are all wonderful blessings from the Lord that are highlighted during the holiday season. Each of these are good things, when kept in their proper place but when we begin to put more emphasis on them than they can hold, we can truly feel our Christmas spirit crumbling.
True peace isn’t found in any of these things, but in Jesus Christ alone. He himself says “in me you may have peace” (John 16:33). “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27): meaning it has been given to us as believers.
Now, that is a Christmas gift!
Jesus Christ came as a gift from God to free us not just from sin, but also from the pressure to find rest, joy, and peace in lesser things. Even if our gift-giving falls flat, our children bicker or our week seems overwhelmingly busy; we can remind ourselves that our hope is not in these things. Our hope is in The Gift; the baby turned Savior who has redeemed us. And not just us, but also our work and efforts to please him.
So, this Christmas as you spend money, serve your family and participate in events, remember that the baby in the manger came, lived, died, and has been raised for you. He has been all things to all people so that you do not have to be!
Concentrate on knowing Christ more, dwelling on what He has done for you, and communicating that to others with acts of love and service.
Written by Valerie Cleveland