Posted by: Nathan | December 25, 2007

Peace

“‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'” Luke 2:14, NIV.

The Christmas season resounds with the notion of peace. This is largely due to the passage above, but Christian and non-Christian alike desires peace: world peace, inner peace, peace in the Middle East, a peaceful evening with one’s beloved, a peace that surpasses understanding. We want it. Christmas is supposed to be a more peaceful season–a time consecrated to family, friends, generosity, and slowing down.

Of course we know it is frequently the opposite; gifts to buy (they aren’t cheap, you know), extra hours at work to pay for them, travel plans, cleaning and baking, spending time with people you don’t know, parties, etc. So many people are relieved to see December 25 depart.

I struggle with the competing forces of Christmastime myself. For the last few years, as I took down my tree for another year, I felt that I’d missed Christmas somehow. December goes by so quickly, and so does my time with family and away from work (read: happy times). After thinking so much last year about how to “save Christmas” and pondering these issues again this year, I think what I miss at Christmas is the peace.

Perhaps the best way to make the holidays enjoyable again is to simplify them and slow myself down. Can’t afford the presents you’re expected to give? Give cheaper gifts. Christmas is for generosity not gluttony. As for the traveling and the family obligations, you’ve got to enjoy them as much as possible. Don’t want to go to a party? Skip it. Spend your time doing things you love and do them slowly. Usually what must be rushed to be accomplished at Christmastime is not worth the doing. Sip some cocoa and watch a movie. Put your feet up. Make your favorite holiday treats, but don’t make so many that you’re stressed about it. Play games. Talk. Eat (a lot). Do the traditions you love and scrap the others (no guilt allowed). Just enjoy.

Perhaps peace comes in small packages. God’s massive plan to reunite all of humankind to Him came to fruition via one infant in a small nation. But even if you don’t believe that, you can find some peace by slowing down your life and spending the holidays in enjoyable ways with those you love as much as possible. I wish you the most relaxing and pleasant holidays you can imagine. Merry Christmas.

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Responses

  1. I couldn’t have said it better. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  2. Thanks for such a fine reflection on the season. Merry Christmas to you and J!

  3. Nice thoughts. I would encourage you to think further on the idea of peace. I got to preach one of the Sundays of advent on peace. As I studied, I came to the conclusion that the only peace comes with the lordship of Christ in our lives. In Isaiah 9:7 it says, “Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.” In my personal life and in the world the only hope for peace is Christ’s lordship. I think the application is to make Christ Lord in all situations and see His wonderful hand at work. Peace comes when the battle ceases within my life because Christ is Lord and will cease in the universe when Christ is Lord — that is why the lion will be able to lie with the lamb — the true created order will be restored. Peace became a thing of the past when Satan/Lucifer challenged the rule of God by seeking equality and unrest/a battle entered the realm of the universe. My personal life is the first place the “right” order can be restored and peace return. I will have to wait, with hope, for the time when Christ will be recognized as Lord of All — all in the universe. That is what the angels declared — they were proclaiming what was true at the birth of Christ, they proclaimed the promise we still await. Have a peaceful Christmas and in the midst of this world be an island of peace as you proclaim Christ as Lord.


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