Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace. Why is it that it is just the opposite in my house? More like chaos, fighting, and stress. What part of Christmas am I missing here?
Peace? What’s That? – Clinton, OK
“Peace on Earth and good will toward men.” This well-known greeting given to the shepherds by the angels has been haunting me as well this Christmas season. It’s everywhere I go, in every song I sing, in every card I read, and in every sermon I attend. Yes, I am aware that it is part of our traditional Christmas mantra, but that phrase has gotten caught in the corner of my mind this season as I think about what it really means to find peace. In the spirit of A Christmas Carol, let’s take a ride with the ghost of Christmas present and witness an interchange I had with my kids a couple of weeks ago. It had been an exceptionally stressful day, and as my boys jumped into the car after school I said, “You guys are familiar with explosives right?” They exchanged wary glances and nodded. “You know when something is labeled EXPLOSIVE that you handle it with care and do your best not to cause a huge disturbance around it for fear of what dire consequences might follow, right?” Again, they all nodded. “Well, today I want you to imagine that I have a sticker right here on my forehead. One that reads DANGER EXPLOSIVE, okay?” They snickered and laughed, but the mood quickly shifted when they realized that I was not laughing. I was stressed and instead of trying to turn my own feelings around, I was turning to my three lively rambunctious boys and demanding that they create an atmosphere of peace for me. I’m sure you can imagine how well that plan worked out. The day continued on in its own cursed way, and I ended up lying in bed that night regretting how I had handled just about every situation with every family member. Enter my metaphorical Christmas angel. It occurred to me then, that peace is not something to be demanded, expected, prayed, or hoped for. Just like on that starry night outside Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, peace is a gift. A blessed gift. Dear reader, peace on earth as heralded by the angels may be a task better left in God’s hands, but I have a little offering to finding peace in your own little neck of the plains this Christmas. It’s a little difficult and a bit costly, but what good gift isn’t, right? First find and gather up all of your joy, forgiveness, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Wrap them up with a beautiful smile and generously give these rare and precious gifts to any and every one that comes across your path. Then when night comes and you lay your head down on your pillow, instead of a list of heartaches, regrets, and emptiness, I think you will finally realize that ever elusive state of being called peace that you have been missing this Christmas season. That is my prayer for you sweet friend. Merry Christmas and may the God of peace rule your hearts and your minds this Christmas season!
“Real Housewife of Western Oklahoma”
_The Daily Elk Citian_22 December 2011
_The Cordell Beacon_28 December 2011