Standing at the service desk of a retail outlet recently, I was struck at how constantly the phone was ringing and how frazzled the attendant was, trying to keep up with each demand.
“Gee, you’re busy!” I said to the attendant when there was a break.
“Yeah, it’s been crazy this morning,” she replied. She then continued with, “You know, this time of year is meant to be filled with joy and good tidings but people have been horrible. I have just been abused over the phone repeatedly in the last five minutes. But I guess people are stressed trying to get everything done.”
“Well, I hope you have a happy Christmas,” I replied, and with that she smiled and wished the same back to me.
The silly season
Some people call this time of year ‘the silly season’, the time that marks the end of all activities, culminating their concluding celebrations, concerts and ceremonies into two small weeks preceding the end of school.
These are beautiful celebrations and to be enjoyed but add to that the rush before Christmas to find ‘just the right gift’ to give the ones we love while people are pushing in lines, cutting in on carparks, and abusing sales clerks over the phone when their answers aren’t quick enough, you can see how things can become a little out of the ordinary.
Let’s bring it back a notch
When Jesus first came into the world in simplicity, as a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and laying in a manger, he was introduced to the shepherds by a great company of angels saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” (Luke chapter 2 verses13-14)
When Jesus was comforting his disciples before his crucifixion, he left these words with them, “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.” (John chapter 14 verse 27)
Transcending all understanding
In the hustle and bustle of a noisy world, peace is not in what’s going on around you, peace begins in your heart.
Philippians chapter 4 verse 7 tell us that, ‘the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus’.
It is a peace that remains even ‘though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.’ (Psalm chapter 46 verses 2-3)
I have heard stories of people singing praises to God even when facing death, people going through the worst times in their lives feeling a peace they cannot explain. I have felt it myself in my own insignificant circumstances and it is nothing short of miraculous.
How then, do we find this peace?
We trust in Jesus. We trust that no matter what we’ve done, what we’re going through, he’s got our back, he knows more about our situation than we could ever imagine.
He doesn’t promise us an easy ride but he does promise us that, whatever we go through, he will never leave us or forsake us. And we have the added bonus of feeling his presence with us, for nothing can separate us from his love. This, to me, is peace on earth.
Whether they be the frazzled store attendant or the cranky shopper, we too can announce Jesus this Christmas by carrying a message of peace, just as the angels did on that Holy night over 2000 years ago.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.’ (Isaiah chapter 54 verse10)
First published for Christian Today Australia, 17th December 2015
(c) Rebecca Moore 2015