Keeping the Christmas peace

Copyright Bill Walsh, ClearlySeen.org

ROCKWALL (December 16, 2013) Expectations greet us at every turn of the holiday season. But they don’t always say Merry Christmas.

Some people trim the tree after Thanksgiving dinner. They might also finish their holiday shopping by end-of-day Black Friday. A few folks will excel them all by getting their family-photo Christmas cards mailed the first week of December.

Then there are the rest of us. We pull out the Christmas boxes and let them incubate for days, as if they’ll hatch elves to do the work. We might notice the neighbors’ outdoor décor and jump into action, throwing a few strings of lights over the porch rails. That peaceful glow lulls us into thinking we have a handle on the holidays, until a foil-lined card arrives to remind us we’re running out of time.

We might be tempted to throw in the holiday towel—hang a wreath on the door and leave town. But whether we sparkle our way through the season, or sit cross-legged to decipher Christmas tree assembly instructions in mid-December, we likely have something in common: Stress.

Isn’t it ironic that the season we most celebrate Immanuel—God with us—keeps us too busy to spend much time with him? Or perhaps we avoid seeking God’s help concerning our Christmas to-do list, doubting he would care about our self-imposed burden. But the Bible says we should cast all of our anxieties on him because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7; ESV).

The Gospel books tell of Jesus pressured by the multitudes, with their wish-lists of expectations. Mark 1:35 reveals how Jesus handled it all: “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.”

The Savior of the world had the habit of finding a quiet place to get alone with his Father. Afterward he did things like heal the sick and walk on water. Jesus told his followers they needed to practice that get-alone-with-God habit too: “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father. . . .” (Matthew 6:6).

Through faith in Christ, we can enter into God’s presence, where our hearts and minds are refreshed—and redirected when needed.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given . . . Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). 

By Blue Ribbon News special contributor Patti Richter of Heath. Patti is a journalist who writes news and feature stories, book reviews and more for Christian publications.

Patti Richter

By Blue Ribbon News special contributor Patti Richter of Heath. Patti is a journalist who writes news and feature stories, book reviews and more for Christian publications.

Read more by Patti Richter:

Does your faith travel?

Mother of the Graduate

The God who heals

Not forgetting the least of these

Beholding wonders

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