This week, I was worried about how Christmas Eve/Christmas would go. I’m normally very anxious during holidays, and now that I’m seeing more people, I worry that I will upset someone or that someone will be in a bad mood. However, this Christmas was not like that at all. This Christmas, I had peace, and it was amazing.
On both sides of the family, we had a very mellow, chill time. There were exciting things happening (such as my sister getting engaged!) but there was no drama, no fights, no stress. We ended up, at both sides of the family, sitting around and talking and eating. Isn’t that how the holidays should be?
The last few Christmases had a lot of pressure on them. The first Christmas my husband and I spent together, we were engaged, so both sides of the family wanted to see us and had asked us a million questions about our plans. Last Christmas, there was some tension about how we were going to spend our first Christmas as a married couple. But this Christmas, there was no tension. Not only was our environment at peace, but my husband and I were both at peace in our hearts.
Ultimately, peace does not come from our environment. It comes from Christ. Even though God provided a peaceful time for us at both of our families’ houses, we could have mentally stressed about what could have happened. It could have been worse. We could have had a fight. I could have gotten sick. Anxiety is big on playing scenarios that could happen instead of focusing on the reality that actually happens.
Anxiety causes me to focus on myself, to focus on what bothers me and what people could do to hurt me. But when I fix my eyes on God, He shows me that the world does not revolve around me. For the first time in three years, my focus was not on me. It was on my sister who just got engaged. It was on the people who were surrounding me, who were in the same stage of life as me: waiting, praying, and just plain resting. My focus was on God, who has blessed us so abundantly this year, and who has truly allowed us to rest on Christmas.
One of the names of Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He came to give us peace with God, peace with others, and peace within ourselves. If you do not have peace with God, you cannot have peace with others and you cannot have peace within yourself. I’ve tried to look for peace in what I eat, how successful I am, and how nice I am to other people. But even if the scale says a good number, even if I’m not sick, even if everyone around me is happy, those things do not give me peace.
But the opposite is also true. Even when there is chaos, when I can’t control my weight, when my family is all up in arms about something, when my to-do list runs off the page, I can have peace because I know that I have peace with God.
Jesus Christ came as a baby, in the humblest of forms, to bring us peace with God. Jesus is our peace offering from God. When we all bow before the manger in humility, we are able to have peace with one another.
Jesus came to Earth to understand us as humans. You may feel like no one else understands, but God does. He suffered the same pain that we all suffer. He went through everyday life on Earth just like we all did, from working a full-time job to dealing with people on the street. Knowing that Jesus understands exactly how I am feeling, even when I am anxious, gives me peace. Knowing that I have someone with me in the midst of the struggle gives me peace. And having a chill Christmas does not give me hope in the candles and the table setting and even the food, but it gives me hope that every good and perfect gift is from above.
May God bless you as we reflect on 2017 and as we plan ahead for 2018. God will go before you and will meet you in the new year!