Is Christmas more of a duty or a delight for you? Is it rushed and hurried with too many commitments crammed into too little time? Or is it a joyful tradition making memories with family and friends?
Christmas preparation usually falls on moms. We shop for the gifts and wrap them. We decorate the house and send the cards and family newsletter. We cook and bake and entertain. All of this, added to the increased demands of family schedules and the ongoing responsibility of daily tasks…can challenge the peacefulness of anyone.
Spending time with people you do not enjoy is part of most everyone’s holiday responsibilities. Whether it’s motivated by obligation or an effort to gain approval, it’s stressful. Stress is the opposite of peace.
Christmas is also a time when the peace we want to know can be overshadowed by loneliness, depression and memories of past hurts and losses. Feeling alone or unloved by those who matter is heightened by the holidays when everyone seems to have somewhere to go with someone who cares. Feelings of emptiness lead us to form a negative view of our self-worth.
Peace is not just the absence of conflict. It’s a deliberate transformation of the heart. It’s a commitment to compassion and acceptance which often requires forgiveness of old trespasses, be they our own or those of others.
Reconciliation is the restoration of peace in relationships. It may require an apology or an explanation that diffuses the conflict and quiets the anger that damaged it in the first place. Reconciliation is the highest hope for new peace in broken relationships and fractured lives.
Personal peace is a state of being to which we can all aspire and attain. It is achieved in our innermost sense of “self” where acceptance of circumstances beyond our control and control of the circumstances within our power produces serenity. Eventually, every thought, action and relationship is filtered through and governed by the divinity of peace. Peace is an individual thing and mine will be different from yours. Finding the balance in life that leads to peace will take some time and work, but in the meantime, add the following suggestions to your stressful holiday planning:
Pray or meditate each day, giving thanks for the blessings you have.
Listen to soothing music; take walks and read inspirational stories.
Take time to care for your own physical and emotional well-being: Do not sweat the small stuff!
Peace on earth will not be possible until peaceful hearts prevail in our world leaders. Our communities, churches and families must be driven by the principles of respect and concern for the welfare of others besides themselves. Justice and goodwill must coexist in order for true peace to abound and the rewards of that peace must be of greater value than those of conflict.
I believe I am saying "Give Peace a Chance".