“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – Jesus
Holiday hustle. Making family plans. Trying to get the right gift. Pushing through the holiday crowds. Mulling through traffic. Family sickness. Family tragedy. Remembering the loss of loved ones. Trying to make it through the holiday. Longing for a happy Christmas. Stressing because you think it won’t be perfect. Remembering a better time. Wishing you had more money to spend.
All-American Christmas without peace
Is it just me, or have we found some kind of a cheap substitute for celebrating the coming of the Savior? Have we stopped long enough this season to even think about what His coming actually means? Is the acquisition of lots and lots of things to give to our family and friends really worth all the stress? Would we be able to enjoy the season if there were no presents given at all?
This is a serious issue that points to something deep within our hearts this time of year. And most of us are completely unaware of it because we haven’t stopped long enough in the midst of the season to remember why we’re doing all this in the first place!
We’ve been bamboozled.
This morning, I want to offer you four insights on how to find peace from all the stress that you are probably experiencing right now.
1. Get before the King. Everything begins here. You have to find a way to get before the throne of God. Get up early tomorrow morning and just sit for a few minutes in the silence before the chaos of the day. Speak plainly and clearly your hearts concerns to God. Pause in between your thoughts and listen. Let God speak into your heart. Open up a Bible and read the book of Galatians. I use the Message version for a devotional thought. It’s clear and easy to read. Listen to the Spirit as He speaks. Talk some more, get on your knees, and sit before the King. He longs to look you in the eyes and speak to your heart.
2. Stop trying to please the Christmas Monster of “MORE”. Avoid the temptation when you are walking down the aisles at Target, or some other department store, to look at all the things you haven’t yet bought for your friends or family for Christmas. There is not a line that you can cross where you will ever say “This is enough”. Obviously there is a limit to your money, so stick to your budget and be content with what you have purchased for your children. If you haven’t done your shopping yet, just be content when your buggy is full and you’ve done all you can to show those you love them through the purchasing of gifts. And remember that you don’t have to buy someone a gift to show them that you love them. Maybe make something. Maybe create something they’ll love. It’s not about how much money you do or don’t spend. Give gifts to show you care, but don’t depend on the present to bring them happiness. Recognize that it is you they want in their lives, not the gifts you bring.
3. Reflect on Jesus. Christmas is about Jesus. Plain and simple. The gift that God gave to the world was Himself. Stop looking for the blessing of God and start looking for God Himself, in the flesh. Look no further than Jesus. Reflect on his goodness, on his kindness, on his faithfulness, and on his love. Reflect on the life he lived and on the truth he spoke. Read the Gospel story in the book of Luke. 24 short chapters that tell the story of how God came to earth, lived among us, and taught us the ways of His Kingdom. Reflect on his death and his coming back to life. Reflect on his final words, and decide what to do with Him this Christmas. Let Him in. Begin to follow.
4. Enjoy the people you love most in this world. After you get before God, after you decide not to be consumed with all that you must do, and after you reflect on Jesus, the natural response will be for you to really enjoy and love your family and friends this week leading up to Christmas. This truly is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. Laugh more. Love more. Live free. Worship Jesus this season. Remember Jesus. Remember the good times. And create new memories this coming season.
Let peace reign in your heart by not letting your own busyness get in the way of Jesus this year.