Growing up with a family of eight kids in a house of yellers at times made finding peace on Christmas Day even harder than finding a good candidate to vote for President. Each holiday, bets were on to see who would ruin Christmas this year. Today I actually find myself missing those days since my parents passed a few years ago and all of us are spread across the states. Most of our emails or cards are typically to announce the latest illness or passing of one of our pets. Thus I ponder, why is peace so hard to find?
Christmas is supposed to be the story of God sending a savior to the world that would bring peace on earth and good will towards men. Jesus was to be the peacemaker that the world was seeking and waiting for. We know the wise men followed a star to go to that stable in Bethlehem and it was announced that this baby was the savior of the world. He would be the one all hoped would deliver peace to the world.
My Mom was always the one who was a peace deliverer. Each year she would carefully prepare an awesome meal and have the house decorated and ready for Christmas. Whether we had enough money or not to pay for it, which we did not, somehow the tree was always loaded with presents for everyone. Her goal was that we would all be happy and get along. She so wanted peace in the house, at least on Christmas day, we should all be in harmony.
But inevitably someone would open a present they didn’t like and get mad or not say thanks. Or the gift hoped for would not show up and someone would complain. Or as we got older, a known big mistake that one of us had made that messed up our lives would create a Dad conversation. Dad always meant well but his main mode of conversing was via yelling. Such happenings would bring the dreaded speech on how hard he worked to bring those presents to us (and he did, he was one of the hardest worker I ever met) and the importance of being grateful. He would share about the days of the depression. We’d get a get tough talk, or a you should have done this or that or else would happen, lecture. Dad’s mode for delivering, peace was through the negative, either do this, or else. Bobby Knight, Vince Lombardi, General Patton, Woody Hayes, they were all our Dad’s and our role models that if you want to get somewhere in life it comes from being strong and dominating. Threats of do it right or else was the core.
That is kind of like the contrasting world we live in today, isn’t it?. An actual announcement in a church bulletin once said, ‘The peace-making meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.’ The hope of peace being delivered conflicts by methodology. Those who try by love, peace, and giving are victimized by those who say punish the guilty and kill the bad guys.
Unless you are a church goer, most people miss the fact that just before Jesus was born was the seeming contrast of Him. John the Baptist (whom Jesus said was the greatest of all men before him) talked the strong message of repent or else. Jesus words spoken were primarily of peace and love. His actions were all peace as He told Peter to put away the sword when they came to kill Him. Both John and Jesus were put to death as people want to hear neither condemnation nor peace. What we don’t want is what we need; a perfect balance of a whole lot of love and an occasional kick in the pants.
I know for me I have lived a conflicting life with half of me being that nice kind peace maker like my Mom. At other times I’ve been the yelling earth shaker like my Dad that has told people to get their act together or else. Sometimes one way works, sometimes the other, sometimes neither. I continue to search for that right balance as I really want to be a deliverer of peace. I think most people do, we just don’t execute very well.
There is no doubt in my mind that God did come through in delivering peace. To find where that peace is located goes no further than looking inside our own heart, IF it was received. We all are made up naturally with a bit of peace and a bit of turmoil. What happened between the birth of Christ and His death was the most important gift that could be brought to us. Peace between our turmoil filled self and God.
I write my personal stories (Click for my Bio) to bring the reality of Christmas to you. Peace on Earth starts with us as individuals, as ALL find and live in peace, then it can make it to the whole earth. But until that point where peace is received within all of us one of two things will have to happen; either everyone finds peace with God (and quickly), or what we don’t want to have happen will take place. I choose peace, Merry Christmas to all.
How then is peace delivered? (or why is it not getting delivered?)
If the Christmas message is true, and God did his part of sending the peacemaker, then it would seem that something is wrong in the world which is as messed up as it is today, no?
After Jesus had been with a group of followers for some time showing them what it means to be with and know God, He sent them out. They were not the 12 we read about. They were not ministers, or pastors or missionaries, just plain old people like you and me. But they had been with him for some time and saw what He had and could deliver, because He had shown them how to carry what He had. The message was not profound and it was not with a lot of flowery words. And He sent them emptied handed without a bunch of money and tools, to deliver the most important thing that we all need, read here from Luke 10:
Jesus chose seventy-two other disciples and sent them ahead in pairs to all the towns and places he planned to visit. 2 These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields. 3 Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves. 4 Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road.
5 “Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’ 6 If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.
Question for you who may be skeptical of Christians – Has anyone delivered you the peace of God lately?
Question for you who say you are a follower or better yet a worker – Did you deliver the peace of God to where you visited this Christmas day? Do you know what it means to carry the real peace that comes from one place, the presence of God?
This Average Joe is no expert but I am so hoping at this Christmas that the peace of God is in your house. , Oh yeah, Merry Christmas!
For some this may sound a bit different from the doctrines you learn. It is not, just a bit of added flavor beyond ‘words’. I have a Book Review section, some of the ones that are helping me learn more of how to be a carrier of peace are listed in there. Yes, I know how to ‘talk’ about, but God is more than just words on a page, He is alive and lives today, I do believe. Do people know that from what they see and feel and have delivered from you, or just the words?