"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." (NIV) 2 Thessalonians 3:16
It is the Second Sunday in Advent and the second candle lit today is for peace. I don't know about you, but from the time the turkey goes into the oven on Thanksgiving until the last present is open on Christmas Day, my life can seem a bit chaotic. Yours? Are you feeling the chaos of the Christmas Season?
Each year I make a commitment to myself, and in turn, my family, to take these four weeks and create a more peaceful environment. Usually, right about now - week two, the panic starts to set in. Work is extremely busy - I can't seem to get ahead of the game. Deadlines are looming, issues are surfacing, and a pressure I put on myself to ensure everything gets done creates a sense of chaos. Why aren't there enough hours in the day? Why is everyone asking for something? Why can't we figure out a way to spread all of this throughout the year versus right now in the last month? Why, why, why?
Then there are the household commitments - events for the kids, entertaining, events for the adults, shopping for gifts, writing the cards, etc., etc., etc. It seems that just as I get in the car to come home from a long day at work, I begin to remember all that needs to be done at home. Believe me, I have scaled back from years gone by, but the pile still seems to grow and grow.
What is your Advent season like? Is it full of chaos and commitment or is it focused on Christ's birth? If you are one to feel the chaos of Christmas, I have hope for you.
Take this moment, this one moment, and say with me, "Jesus - you TRULY are the reason we celebrate with such excitement. The events and the chores of the season are done with the knowledge that your birthday is one the world celebrates. Be with me, create in me a sense of peace amongst the chaos. Only YOU can do that Jesus, and I know you are with me right now to help me get there."
I prayed a prayer similar to the above about 4 days ago. It seemed like I wasn't going to get "it all" done. I left it in God's more-than-capable hands. Over me washed a sense of peace. We all define peace in different ways. Maybe you believe peace needs to be "peace and quiet" - nobody talking at you, nobody asking anything of you. Many people see peace that way - those "Calgon take me away" moments where you are alone and at peace. Yes, those moments are peaceful, quiet and precious.
I see peace a little differently - and that is what I experienced a few days ago. Peace doesn't have to mean quiet - I believe peace is defined as "calmness from God". When I need peace in my life, it doesn't mean that the busyness of life needs to stop - it means that I know God is with me, guiding me, through the chaos. At the end of the day the chores and the commitments were done out of love for my Lord, my family, and my friends. The feeling of me wanting to scream is replaced by the Holy Spirit washing peace over me, like a blanket of comfort. It is an incredible feeling and one that, I have to share, I have had the pleasure of experiencing over the years.
During times of darkness, times of busyness, times of joy and times of thanksgiving, I need to feel the peace of God. He has never disappointed me. When I reach out to him in times of prayer - asking for great peace - He has delivered this sense of comfort, as if He was giving me a huge hug. For those of you who know me directly, hugging is a BIG part of my world. It is the best feeling, and to have that feeling from God gives me the strength to move forward.
It is the Advent season - a time for us to do all we do out of faithfulness to our Lord. It is a time for us to enjoy each other, to sing those carols loudly, to bake with zeal, etc. It is also a time to stop - maybe right in the middle of the mall - and say a prayer to God for a sense of peace amongst the chaos. I promise you He will respond in kind, with a big hug!! Oh by the way, if you get an opportunity for a "Calgon" moment - certainly take it. Those moments are cherished as well!! Blessings to all.