Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; MY peace I give you.”
Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of different people. As Christians, it’s such a gift to know what it’s really all about - JESUS.
In our hearts, we know what a special time this is. We know that it’s a time of peace. It’s a time of joy and of love. It’s a time of reflection on what God did for us. He sent his precious Jesus to earth, just for us. It’s amazing that He would do that for me! And just for YOU. He thought of you specifically when He did it. Glory to God in the highest!
We know that it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s magical. Not because of Christmas lights, but only because of Jesus. We know that simple is usually best. No one really cares if your cookies are perfectly iced or how creative your teacher gifts are. We know it doesn’t matter how many gifts we give or have under the tree or if we can find the hottest toy of the year. We know it’s more about making memories with our family than about how much money we spend. We know that nothing the “world” tells us about Christmas should mean anything because the truth is - it’s all about Jesus. God created it to be that way. My heart knows this is truth.
But then we get in our cars and go about our day and then…it happens. Jingle bells. Christmas trees. Shopping. Stressing. Lists. Caroling. Parties. Elf on the Shelf. Candy Canes. Decorating. Toys. Gifts. Santa. Christmas Lists. Shopping. Money. Stressing. Hurrying. Gingerbread houses. Teacher gifts. Pinterest crafts. Homemade treats. Shopping. Ornaments. Church. Matching outfits for your kids. Presents. Shopping online. Sold out. More stressing. More shopping. Egg Nog. Coats. Probably more shopping…
And then without even meaning to, we forget.
Why do I forget the truth so easily? Or maybe it’s not that I forget it but that I just stop remembering that I believe it. And I stop remembering to rest in it. To rest in the truth of what Christmas really is.
We lose the peace and the joy and we’re bombarded with the “stuff.” Because, duh, we live in the world and that’s what the world gives. Stuff. And stress. The world gives things that tell you, “You’re not enough.” “You haven’t done enough for your family.” “You didn’t buy the right gifts.” “You weren’t very creative with your elf of the shelf. You better spend four hours looking at pinterest and pin 95 different things about it?” “You need to spend more money so it looks like you really care.” “You need to plan more Christmas activities to make more memories with your kids like all your friends on facebook are doing.” The list of LIES could go on forever. Until YOU and JESUS make them stop. You have to choose to remember how we were resting in the truth and the peace of Christmas.
Oh, girl. Don’t lose hope. Here’s the good part. Guess what Jesus says in John 14:27:
“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.”
Then again in John 16:33 he reminds us, “I have told you these things so that in ME you may have PEACE. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
And THAT is truth.
I don’t know about you, but that sure gives me hope. I mean, Jesus said it. Our Jesus. The one who saved the world. He said that I would have trouble. He said it would be hard. He said we would fail.
But then he said…TAKE HEART, be encouraged, feel hope, be confident.
It’s only because of Jesus that we can find peace in the first place. Not because of anything I do or don’t do but because Jesus has already done it for me. Yall, he already did it!!!!! He already overcame the world. He already gave us His peace. He’s just waiting patiently for us to grab it and take it. And hold it. And don’t let go.
Then we can go through the day, the week, the Christmas season (and let’s just keep going and apply this to rest of the year and everyday of our lives, too) and know that HIS PEACE is the only truth.
Then we can enjoy the Christmas trees, parties, activities and the gift giving because it’s all good stuff, but its just stuff. Not truth. Not peace. And when we forget, God is always waiting, with his outstretched arms, for us to reach back up to him and take HIS PEACE. And hold onto it again.
So, here I am. The mommy of two little girls, whose eyes sparkle at the mention of the word Christmas. The lights, the tree, the Little People Nativity set, the cookies and the anticipation that lasts for the whole month; it really is so exciting. I want more than anything to make this the most special time of year for our little family. I want my girls to know how special it is that Jesus came just for them. But even when my motives are right and my heart wants to shine the truth to them, somehow I still feel bombarded with “stuff” I should be doing. And its hard…Oh yeah… thank you for reminding me again… Jesus said it would be hard and that He gives something different than the world gives. He gives me Peace.
Peace like a river.
Do you remember that song? Have you ever thought about the words? I mean, like really thought about what it means. Peace like a river in my soul. Wow. How refreshing?! Especially during the busiest (and most wonderful) time of the year.
My favorite version of that song is by Page CXVI- an incredible Christian group if you haven’t heard of them. It’s a beautiful praise lullaby version. There’s a link to it at the bottom. I really encourage you to listen to it right now and really meditate on the words. Listen to Jesus telling you how much He longs for you to come to the river. His river. And take His peace! It will flow from His heart. Come to the fountain, where peace will flow from His blood. Where your soul won’t wither, but grow.
Let’s commit together to grow in peace this Christmas season. Let’s enjoy all the fun and the excitement and the “stuff” of Christmas but don’t let it steal your Peace. Don’t let it steal the truth you know in your heart. The TRUTH of Jesus is what makes this time so special in the first place.
Click HERE to listen to Peace Like a River by Page CXVI – Hymns- Lullabies. Or copy and paste this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fG_bXEV8xzk
I’ve got peace like a river in my soul. Come to the river. It will flow from His heart where leaves won’t wither, but grow, they will grow.
Come to the fountain, where peace will flow from his blood. Where your soul won’t wither, but grow.
I’d love to hear the ways you find peace during the Christmas season. Please share with us in the comments!!
**Elizabeth Mason has been a part of Valley Mops since moving to Des Moines in 2012. She is the mom of two girls, Reese (4) and Lucy (almost 2) and the biggest cheerleader for her husband of seven years, Mark, who is a Surgery Resident at Methodist Hospital downtown. Despite the crazy cold winters, the Mason family has enjoyed their transition from Texas to Iowa the past few years. And they’re especially thankful for what God has done for them through Valley Church.
For more information about the MOPS group at Valley church visit http://www.valley-church.com/mops