Sunday, December 20, 2009

Peace at Christmas?

Most people will tell you that the Christmas season is their favorite time of year. The beautiful lights and decorations, the festive music playing everywhere, the parties, the food, the presents, the time spent with family—indeed, there is something magical about Christmastime.

For some of us, particularly mothers, Christmas is also the busiest time of year. We make lists and check them twice, then three times. We fuss about the decorations and lights; we schedule the parties we want to throw and those we want to attend; we bake more than any other time of year for events at church, school, and work, for our neighbors and friends; we plan, shop for, and wrap countless gifts; we plan activities for our families to soak up the season; we do something special for those less fortunate. All this service to our family and others should be richly fulfilling, and yet we often end up feeling exhausted and let down (and a little relieved) when the season wraps up. That’s not what Christmas should be about. There is no peace in the running ragged that I catch myself doing in December in an attempt to do it all.

Today I wanted to focus on bringing peace to our season of celebration. The angels who sang at the birth of Jesus proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14) Centuries before His coming, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). And during His earthly ministry, Christ taught his disciples, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace” (John 16:33).

Christ offers us peace if we will but turn unto Him. We often think of turning to the Lord for peace during times of trial and suffering, but we can and should look to Him every day for peace in our lives.

In my own life, I have seen a direct correlation between me making the effort to seek the Lord’s guidance and spirit through prayer and scripture study and the peace I experience in my daily activities.

Galations 5 teaches: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance . . .” As a mother, I desperately need those things in my life, and yet when life gets hectic, the simple acts of calling on the Lord and seeking to know His will are sometimes neglected. Instead, I race from one thing to the next, snapping at my husband and children because I feel overwhelmed with all I have to accomplish. Later, when I find myself on my knees, begging for the Lord’s assistance as I struggle to cope with my day, he gently reminds me that I rushed up and out that morning, plunging right into my to-do list and responsibilities without first seeking Him. Again. Why must we learn the same lessons over and over?

Christ has said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelations 3:20). Are we too busy to hear him knocking? We believe in Him, but are we opening the door and letting him in to sup with us?

In these final days leading up to Christmas, I want to challenge myself and each of us to set time aside each day to ponder the great gift of our Savior; to read of His birth, His life, and His marvelous atonement; and to pray to our Heavenly Father, offering thanks for the gift of His Son. Then, we will have his peace in our hearts. Then we will be better able to give of ourselves to our family and friends. We will be better equipped to choose wisely how we spend our precious time and energy. We will feel true joy, happiness, and peace that can come only from the Savior of the World. As Christ taught His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled” (John 14:27).

I know that He lives and loves us. I know that He desperately wants to give us the peace that He promises, that our hearts may no more be troubled. I know that He is the Savior of the world, without whom all would be lost. I am so grateful for His willing sacrifice so that we might have eternal life; and that, though I stumble and make mistakes constantly, He continues to stand at the door and knock for me.


Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas. :)

Prudy said...

Beautiful post, Michal. I've come back to read it a couple of times. Thanks for reminding me where my real source of peace and joy originates from. Merry Christmas to you and yours.
PS Will I see you sometime this next year? Hope so.

Ellen said...

I have felt the same in regards to the craziness of this time of year... and I SO appreciate the reminder of what its truly all about. The peace only the Savior can offer us. Thanks Michal! I needed that today.

mindyluwho said...

This last week I have just rolled out of bed and gone on my merry way...only it's not as merry as I would like it to be. I recognize that it is as you say, I haven't taken the time to commune and so have paid the price of feeling slightly unsettled. Thank you for the reminder!