I’m wrestling with the concept of peace this Christmas. Estranged from certain family members, I suffer more anxiety than peace when musical strains depicting warm family gatherings penetrate my conscious mind. Honestly, it’s difficult not to grow anxious or cynical.
Can you relate? Are you robbed of peace worrying about a stressed or broken relationship this Christmas?
One of Jesus’ chief reasons for coming to Earth was to leave us with peace (John 14:27). He knew we’d need it to soothe a million anxious thoughts over the course of a lifetime.
I’ve been thinking a lot about peace these days. Keeping it and making it.
There is a difference that’s notable. The Bible teaches us to make or be in peace, not keep it. (Romans 12:18)
For most of my days, I’ve tended to focus almost exclusively on the latter rather than the former. And it’s made me anxious. Keeping peace is hard work when someone’s upset, unhappy, or disappointed.
I’ve made it my unofficial job to eliminate the possibility of pain in those closest to me. And in doing so, I’ve taken on the inevitable anxiety that comes from trying to play God. Think Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty.
It didn’t work for Bruce and it hasn’t worked for me.
And so 2 years ago, I took a step back from certain family members to get some much needed perspective about making rather than keeping peace. I’m certain my step back didn’t look like the action of a peace maker. Yet it was an essential step on my journey.
Space and time have helped me see where my boundaries were blurred or nonexistent. I see now that clear boundaries will require me to speak up when experiencing harm rather than focusing on keeping others happy.
Learning the art of making peace may require you to step back to gain some much needed perspective. This is a necessary action step for chronic peace keepers.
I talk to many women across the country during the course of a week who focus more on peace keeping than peace making. When they share their struggles with me, I’m able, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to isolate lies that keep them locked in a pattern of peace making.
My relationship with God and mentors have helped me walk free from the lie that I’m responsible to keep peace. In godly community, I’ve discovered that I’m prone to keep peace as a way of keeping my own heart at peace.
But this Christmas I’m relying on the Prince of Peace to hold my heart steady. And I’m ready to approach family members from a heart full of love and truth.
This Christmas, allow the Prince of Peace to take your hand and lead you down paths of peace where you can hear His voice. There you’ll learn the gentle art of making peace on your own patch of earth.
All hail the Prince of Peace! Jesus is His name!