And on Earth, Peace….
It’s Christmas Day evening; and Janet and I are sitting together in the library. Kristin’s family and Andrew’s family came by to open presents and have brunch with us; everyone was gone by noon and Janet and I settled in, for the first time since we were married back in 1973, for a day alone – just the two of us. And you know what? We have really enjoyed it. Yes, we missed the family, but not the work associated with hosting Christmas dinner!
By every measure, it has been a strange, but wonderful couple of days. For probably the first time in our lives, the week-end events leading up to the celebration today were peaceful and not hectic, the way things usually are. No last minute shopping or rushing about or trying to get everything just right. It all started with attending church on Friday evening – that’s right Christmas Eve eve. The music and message were great. What a way to start off the Christmas celebration.
Saturday morning, Janet and I headed down to Greenwood to see my friend Paul and his wife, Michelle. Those of you who know them realize that Michelle is the one who makes bread for Janet and she didn’t disappoint – 5 warm loaves of bread were ready as a Christmas gift to us – well, Janet really. But seeing them was wonderful – a real time of fellowship and community. Just the kind of thing that Christmas should be about.
Throughout the day, we made several other stops, watched Kristin’s children in a Christmas program and had our traditional carry out Chinese dinner. Normally, I don’t go into this kind of detail, but things were so peaceful that I still can’t believe it. It was so different from other years where we were being pushed and pulled in every direction. I couldn’t help but think that this is what it is supposed to be like.
Janet and I have remarked several times how we focused on the reason for Christmas and not on the material celebration of the day. Sure, we each gave and received gifts, but the birth of Christ was the focus of our attention this week-end. That’s the way it should be every day, all year long.
I really started out to write something a little deeper for this evening. But I decided against it – because the awe of Christmas is something that should just wash over us, just like it did for the shepherds in the field, or the wise men, more than 2000 years ago when Jesus was born. After all, God in the flesh, a little baby, is still the greatest story of all time. Just imagine it; God taking on human form and spending time on earth to give us a model of behavior that we can emulate in our Christian walk.
So rather than run on too long this evening and in the spirit of the peace of the season, when the world stops to remember the birth of a baby, the verse tonight, like so many others this month, comes from Luke. We continue the story that Dr. Luke started about the birth of Jesus when he tells us that an angel announced that the baby Jesus would be found lying in a manger. And with the angel was a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and in Luke 2:14, we are told what they said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
My encouragement tonight is that God wants you to rest in His peace. That’s the truth. The hustle and bustle is something that is man-made; not the work of the Creator. My prayer tonight is that this next year you may find a heightened sense of peace through a renewed relationship with Jesus Christ. He’s a patient God – in fact, that’s evident in the fact that He came to us as a child and went through all the normal things that children go through as they grow up. Only then did His time for teaching and ministry really begin – and all of it for our benefit. So, Merry Christmas, and may you find God’s grace and peace this season.