Let there be peace
There are those who love Christmas and those who hate it. Most of us probably fall somewhere in between. I’m not a “Christmas person”, but I’m not adamantly opposed either. I neither hate nor love this time we call the “holiday season”. What I’m not a fan of however, is the craziness, stress, materialism and unrealistic expectations often associated with it. That, I don’t like at all.
I’ve never been a fan of crowds or what some people lovingly refer to as the “hustle and bustle”. I can vividly remember going Christmas shopping as a child and standing in the middle of the mall completely overwhelmed by the hoards of people rushing by. And they weren’t happy people. I don’t like when people vent their stress on me. I don’t like that it takes me twice as long to get places as it normally would simply because more people are out and about.
However, over the past few years, I’ve noticed a strange shift, one that I’m finally putting words to, it is this: the less I get caught up in the dark side of the Christmas spirit, the less I see it in those around me. Now, admittedly, I intentionally avoid high traffic areas like malls and shopping centers this time of year. My sister was planning on going to Costco tonight and asked if I’d like to go with her. The look I gave her was one of absolute refusal and shock that she would even suggest such a ludicrous plan – after all of these years together, do you even know me at all!?
Those places aside, I’ve noticed that the more I allow myself to simply enjoy what IS good about the Christmas season, the less I’m bothered by the bad. The more I reject materialism and the pressure to spend money I don’t have, the more I enjoy blessing others through giving. The more I slow down and take my time, the less I notice others rushing around me. The more I resolve to live in peace, the more peace I see.
There’s a song that gets played on the radio this time of year that says, “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
As a person who is being made into the image of Christ, a person who is one with the Prince of Peace himself, I have access to peace anytime, anyplace. And not just any old peace, but a peace that passes understanding. Peace that overrules circumstances. Peace that permeates the space around me.
I don’t have to wait for peace to find me, I can bring peace with me where ever I go. I can choose peace in the middle of rush hour traffic. I can choose peace in the middle of a relational conflict. I can choose peace in the middle of Costco on December 22nd (although I’ve chosen not to test that particular truth.)
Christmas can be a wonderful time of the year, but if it doesn’t feel quite like that yet, you don’t have to wait for circumstances to get better. There can be peace right now, right where you are, it begins with you.