There seems to be a lot less peace nowadays. For me lacking peace during this time of year is a foreign concept. Most tragedies in my life tend to happen in November and then December steps in quietly to maintain control. School comes to a close, the weather becomes silent and white, and people I haven’t seen in awhile come to visit. But for a lot of people this isn’t the case. In fact…it’s quite the opposite.
The Christmas season has a way of reminding a person of lost loved ones in their life that won’t be coming into town to share coffee and pumpkin pie. This loss is hard to ignore. Christmas is the only holiday I know that makes people feel an ache in their heart stronger than any other. The ache of longing for something we all need. The things we have lost stand out like red, shiny burns. It doesn’t help that outside the trees are stripped bare and the sky looks as though it is struggling to carry the weighty gray clouds on its shoulders.
Some people like to cover up this feeling by bombarding their senses with Christmas music, Hallmark movie marathons, and white elephant gift exchange parties. And when they’ve gotten their fill they cram their schedule to bursting with decorating, fretting about getting the biggest country ham at Kroger and hoping the memory foam slippers for their mother-in-law will still be on sale when they get paid. On the flip side there are people that choose to deny Christmas even exists. Even the phrase “Happy Holidays” gives them ulcers and the decorations and cold weather fills their hearts with dread. No matter how familiar the story “A Christmas Carol” is, reformed Ebenezer Scrooge’s aren’t so common.
It isn’t supposed to be this way.
I remember rough times in my life when our family didn’t have much or we were struggling but I never once saw my mom stress over the holiday season. She always exuded peace. There is no reason to run around like a chicken with their head cut off about getting the perfect gift or having the best decorated house or the most wonderful Christmas dinner.
Most people ricochet between the two extremes of being a Mary or a Martha. A lot of people act like Martha wanting the main Christ-centered holiday to go off without a hitch. But what they forget is no matter how perfect your Christmas is it won’t be Christ-centered without Christ at the focus of everything you’re doing. If you’re in a mad harried rush like everybody else in the world how are you offering anything different to those that don’t know about Christ? Nobody will want your faith if it’s just as stressful as not having a faith in anything. During this time it’s important to give others hope…especially those dealing with loss. Telling people to “just believe” or “have faith” or “feel the Christmas spirit” is a complete cop-out. Believe in what? Have faith in what? What is Christmas spirit? These are all so vague and don’t give you anything to cling to. When you already have enough on your plate you most certainly aren’t going to rely on your own strength. That is such a burden especially around the holidays. My mom told me that the only way she has ever remained peaceful during the holidays is not doing everything on her own. She said that if she had to make the meal, decorate, wrap gifts etc…all alone, she wouldn’t be able to handle it.
What most people need now more than anything is to be able to find peace. When I first heard about recent events in Connecticut I didn’t ask any questions. I didn’t want to know. Just as I didn’t want to know about any of the other shootings. It’s too painful for me to think about. Just imagining what those families must be feeling is hard to comprehend and even harder to imagine possible gifts that have already been purchased, vacations scheduled to see family, and meals with specially made dishes that won’t get to be enjoyed now by those who have been lost in this tragedy. There are already so many problems in this world and I know I am not capable of dealing with them all. I’m only one person and as much as I would like to I can’t comfort everybody. However, when people talk to me I want them to be able to recognize right off the bat that something is different. It’s not that I’m never stressed but overall I want to exude peace like my mom. This is how all Christian people should be especially around this time of year. That’s because, as a child of God, you know that no matter what is going on in the world God has you in His hands. While the world is spinning around you He’ll keep you completely still in His arms. There is hope. God is the Prince of Peace. You don’t have to feel burdened. You don’t have to feel lonely. You don’t have to feel stressed. God is there with His arms wide open waiting for you to give it all to Him. Work diligently with your hands and do your best and don’t forget to lie at the master’s feet for awhile…giving Him the praise and glory.