There was no shortage of the Christmas spirit that day. In my red sweater and red car, I mentally reviewed my holidays shopping list and hummed carols with the radio. I entered the lot according to the directional arrows, delighted to see a slanted slot opening up in front of Hobby Lobby. As if my turn signal wasn’t blinking and I wasn’t waiting patiently in the lane, another car pulled in to snag the spot before I could take my foot off the brake! In a move reminiscent of Old Man Potter hiding money from Uncle Billy, the inconsiderate crafter wouldn’t even make eye contact to own her greedy deed. I resisted the urge to role down my window and shout, “Oh, sure! Well, I’m here to shop for missionaries!” I admit it … we all belong on the “naughty list.” With a turn of her steering wheel, my holiday heart went from peaceful to hostile in less time than it takes for hot glue to burn the skin off of a finger.
Holidays aren’t meant to be hostile, but in a rude world, it’s not surprising tidings of joy lose out to bad tempers. I don’t want that kind of Christmas. That’s merely a holiday spoiled by unexpected inconveniences, insults and injuries. It may be as simple as a parking space or as tragic as a terrorist shooting. I want to experience peace that passes understanding and beyond disappointment or pain. How can we find and hold on to the peace of Christmas instead of the hostility of the holidays?
Long before we thought to celebrate the coming of God’s Son as a past event, God Himself addressed our tendency to let worldly tidings destroy heavenly peace. In a time when governments are scrambling to keep citizens safe and reassure nations peace is possible, we can turn to the assurance that a day is coming when Emmanuel will rule and reign with peace.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Where does God’s peace reign now? In our hearts. In parking lots. In lines. In our families. In our marriages. In our homes. In our churches. In answer to the face of evil. The Prince of Peace has come and will come back to reign over every hostile heart.
Let’s hold on to unChristmas peace instead of holidays hostility.
If the Christmas season brings out your inner Grinch, your secret Scrooge, or your Old Man Potter, then hit “reset.” That kind of Christmas is just a holiday on the calendar. Celebrate a peaceful unChristmas in celebration of the Prince of Peace Himself.