What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Perhaps family gatherings, carols, Santa, the manger, shopping, debt, a favorite food, or decorating. Your mind may go to joyful or hurtful memories of the past or to anticipation of problems ahead.
For those of us with heavy responsibilities to see that everything is done on time and everyone is happy, it can be difficult to find peace in the busyness of high expectations or ourselves and others. Our homes may end up as battlefields rather than the sites of joyous celebrations of the birth of God as man.
This morning I was meditating on the truth that God wrapped himself in a human body and lived as man. How could God limit himself in flesh and blood? How could Jesus learn to walk, talk, and eat? As these reflections crossed my mind, I remembered the angels’ declaration of peace on earth as they announced Jesus’s birth. What had to happen for peace on earth? Jesus released his rights as God and became a man to live and die as one of us. He sacrificed not only on the cross but in his incarnation.
So how can these truths help us find peace in the house this Christmas?
Perhaps peace at home comes by releasing control of the season and looking to God instead. We may need to admit that it’s all too much and simplify what we do. Giving up control may look like being there for others instead of looking good as a cook, decorator, or giver of gifts. Or it may mean that we quit trying to make our families into the dream team that we want them to be and accept them as broken and less than perfect, just as Jesus acceptsus in our mess. Sometimes our expectations of ourselves breed the absence of peace and releasing them brings freedom to enjoy the season.
What are you trying to control and how would it look to give that up for peace this year?