A Peace of Christmas
By Brenda Black
On the night Christ was born angels left shepherds stunned and speechless until they saw the child for themselves. Then they could not help but spread the word. Sheep and donkey and cattle moved over in the stable to make room in their manger. Mary shivered from cold night air and trembled at the thought of the babe she just bore. Joseph shook his head and wondered how he could provide for a king on a carpenter's budget. And the Christ-child, the Messiah Ruler for all ages, rested peacefully.
The greatest gift God sent was His Savior Son who made redemption possible through the sacrifice He offered 33 years later on a cross. Within this package wrapped in miracles and mercy is another blessed treasure. The baby brought peace to those who remain in the center of God's perfect will. A Messiah wrapped in cloth, lying in a manger in the City of David modeled life with the Father, as he slept in perfect peace, even in a dirty barn located in a busy city.
Are you ready for Christmas? Ready or not – it's here! The standard greeting begins about three weeks out and the answers are typically offered with heavy sighs, intense expression and overall dread as days dwindle all too quickly on their race toward the big event. Are you feeling the pressure rather than the peace this Christmas Eve?
How sad that Christmas has become such a chore. Too bad that the simplistic celebrations just won't suffice anymore. We enslave ourselves to hustle and bustle and spend frenzies only to whisk to and through this precious holiday as if it were just another inconvenience. Give me peace for a gift this Christmas. That's all I really need.
Next to headlines that report Christmas bargains and Santa's office hours are those that blare doom and gloom or ugly political turmoil. Crime in the streets, financial nightmares and gross indecency are prime time topics sandwiched between Christmas classics. Horrible assaults on all that is good, holy, righteous and true are common fare in today's society. While sin is glorified and God mocked, give me peace for a gift this Christmas. That's what I really want.
The lights, the lines, the baking, the traffic; the shopping and rushing and headaches are not what the Lord intended. He sent His Son as an infant with basic needs of love and touch and food and warmth. He longed for us to love Him, not lavish him or spoil him. It doesn't take much to give a child what they long for most. Give them peace for a gift this Christmas - your time and tender attention. Read the true story found in Luke 2, as you snuggle for a few moments. That's what they need most.
I love the family gatherings, the church programs, the decorations and cards filled with news from friends far and near. I get weepy and melancholy when I hear of noble acts of Christmas charity. I feel guilty when the gifts I buy seem to fall short of the love I really have for the recipient. The smells and sounds trigger childhood memories even as I attempt to create new traditions for my own legacy. But in all of this, I do not find the one simple element most desired. I cannot find peace wrapped in perfect packages. I will not taste it in sweet delicacies nor hear it in seasonal songs about snow and sleigh bells. I won't see it flashing in bulbs on a tree. The only place where I'll find peace is way down deep inside of me, planted there by the Holy Spirit and longing to be embraced. Give me the gift within – give me peace this Christmas. That's why Jesus came! It's all we really need.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)