FTGI

Peace this Christmas

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14

Last week, the same word kept coming up. It started when I wanted a lock screen for my phone for Christmas, and I went to Emily Ley’s website and found a simple yet elegant design saying, “Peace on Earth.” Then, I got an email from Krystal Whitten, another of my favorite designers, and she too had a lock screen—albeit different but also beautiful—with this same phrase, “Peace on Earth.”

Now, this may seem like just a simple coincidence, nothing to take note of yet, and yes, at this point I can agree. But, it perked my ears up to the word peace.

The next day, I walked into Sunday service and the key verse my Pastor focused on was, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

There it was again.

That word peace.

The 3rd time in just a couple days, I knew this was something I needed to pay attention to.

Every Christmas season, I’m amazed at how the Christmas story can be told and something new rises to the surface for me to ponder. And this season, I now know it’s this peace I’m focused on understanding.

When I think of Christmas, I don’t always think of peace. For starters, it can be such mayhem with all the festivities leading up to the big day, peace is the farthest thing from my reality. Some of us have lost loved ones, and this is the first Christmas without them, and peace isn’t the feeling we’re overwhelmed with. Or the stress of shopping and attempting to find just the right gift or the overwhelm of having to buy presents when finances are tight, doesn’t exactly bring peace into our lives.

But, when the angels rejoiced in Christ’s birth, they proclaimed glory to God and peace to all men. So peace is a crucial part of the Christmas story. And something, this season, I’m focusing my attention on.

RESTING IN HIS PEACE

2017 has been quite a year for me. My twins turned 2 this April, so I’ve been wrestling with two 2-year-olds for months on end. Our house has descended into utter toddler meltdown madness more often than not this year.

I’ve also had a lot of transition—with my writing, with my husband’s schedule, with the boys starting school. The past 11 months were nothing but shifting sands, rolling from one month to the next with something always in constant flux. Even emotionally, as I wrestled through the very public discussion of very private pain from so many voices…it touched a nerve for me as I raised my hand and said me too.

2017 has not been the year of peace for me.

Yet, a still small voice stirring inside makes me wonder if maybe there could be one month of peace. As the year winds to a close, and the hope of dreams and vision boards and goals for 2018 loom on the horizon, can I settle into the quiet and embrace peace for this final month of the year?

I think yes, yes I can.

Peace is a gift delivered through Christ’s birth. And peace is a gift I will accept this season.

I will rest in His peace, I will find calm in the hustle and bustle, and I will accept the euphoric sensation utter stillness before Him brings.

This Christmas, let’s all embrace His peace. Let’s all find supernatural rest, the kind that surpasses all understanding while we shuffle from here to there and everywhere all throughout the month.

FINDING PEACE DAILY

It’s one thing to know we need this peace, but it’s another to put it into practice. To help us stay focused on His gift to us, here are 3 steps we can take each day to find our inner peace this Christmas:

1) Morning Prayer

Most days, I start a little on the edge. Not by my own design. But by my toddler’s. My mornings typically start with a two-year-old cry blaring through my monitor, “Where Mommy go?” as I’m yanked out of my happy dreamscape of sprinkles and unicorns. Needless to say, peaceful wake-ups are a rarity around here.

But, it doesn’t mean I can’t change it. For the next two weeks, each morning I’m starting with a prayer for peace. Asking God to help me live in His peace, no matter what happens during my day.

Surrender your day to Him each morning and invite in His peace, asking Him to help you sustain it throughout the day.

2) Afternoon Refocus

By the afternoon, those moments of peace brought on by prayer usually wane. This is why it’s great to take a few minutes during the day to re-center. Whether it’s when you get in your car to drive to lunch or a few quiet moments at your desk or the first few minutes after you put your kids down for their naps, take a few minutes to meditate on Luke 2:14.

If you have an iPhone watch, there is this great app called breathe that will actually walk you through a minute or more of focused deep breathing. Or you could do it the old fashioned way and just find a quiet place, select a Scripture on peace (I’ve suggested a couple below), and then take in several deep breaths as you think about the peace God gives you.

Taking a few minutes for yourself in the afternoon can make a world of difference. Try it. You’ll see.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” – Colossians 3:15

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11

3) Evening Reflection

I used to journal all the time. But as time’s gone on, journaling’s fallen to the wayside. But, for the next two weeks, I’m committing to journalling each night to reflect on my day, with a focus of peace.

At the top of my page I’m starting with, “Today, I found peace by…” and I’m going to make a note of all the things I did to rest in God’s peace. Knowing I’m going to have to write this down at night will have the added advantage of reminding me to make sure I stay focused on finding peace.

I’m also going to include the things that robbed me of my peace, making note of what I can change tomorrow and what I just have to choose to let go. It can be empowering just recognizing what you do and don’t have control over to change.

Each night, for the next 2 weeks, take a few minutes to write down where you found peace and what may have jeopardized it throughout the day. Close each day with prayer, asking God to continue to bring peace to you through this season.

With a little bit of intention, we can embrace the peace He longs to give us.

My prayer for you is to be wrapped-up in the arms of the Prince of Peace and find calm even amongst all the hectic, busy-ness this season brings.

What word or words have you been given for this Christmas season? Any ideas to add to this list on how you can receive His gift of peace this Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Dominique Richardson
domhrichardson@gmail.com
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