Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Keeping the peace this Christmas

Going to the post office the week before Christmas is enough to knock anyone's merry meter down about 50%! After that I did what I hadn't done for about a year ... walk through a department store.  Loud runway music was playing, and I looked down to find I was walking the red carpet. With surrounding invitations to try fragrances in large glass bottles, I almost felt like I was a celebrity ... except I was in black sweat pants and carrying a Chick-fil-A coffee. I only ventured to the mall for a couple of items, but voices called out offers to buy more and save more, look better and feel younger, and sample things I didn't need. Signs shouted offers for items at low, low prices. I managed to escape with only 3 bottles of soap and a 4th one free.  I didn't even go for soap!  Are THOSE the voices of Christmas? Christmas doesn't make it hard to maintain our peace; our culture does. 

Even Jesus took time away to pray to His Father. After He delegated needs to His disciples in Luke 9, they all went to Bethsaida, but the crowd followed. Jesus welcomed them and met their physical and spiritual needs. So many voices around Him called out to have needs and hopes and desires met. It sounds like an exhausting day, even for the Divine Lord (remember this is the Baby of the manger grown up).  Verse 18 tells us "he was praying alone."  In the midst of 5,000 voices, Jesus knew prayer is essential to experiencing peace on earth.

At Christmas we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace, but we may find ourselves so wrapped up in present prepping, cookie making, socializing, or just sitting in traffic that we find it hard to HEAR the Prince of Peace. Even for those who have habits of prayer, we may push out time to listen to the Lord and to talk to Him. Oh, to listen to His voice and pour out our hearts to Him; it is a gift made possible by His coming to earth. We have to tune our hearts and ears to hear Him above the din of all the "Christmas-ing" round us.

We need to pray today because:

  • if we don't, we'll make poor choices ... and end up with extra soap ;)
  • we will become overwhelmed without prayer
  • it will help us to be the woman, worker, mom, wife we need to be
  • we need peace to reign in our hearts and minds during busy days
  • we want to pay attention to the One the celebration is all about
  • it's the way to have an intimate relationship with God
There IS time to pray before Christmas:
  • pray for people as you wrap their gifts
  • pray prayers of thanks and praise as you cook, work, shop, or drive
  • pray out loud sentence prayers of response as you listen to Christmas music
  • pray when everyone else is gone and you can listen to God's voice in the quiet (wait 'til dark?)
  • pray when you read the story of the Prince of Peace in Luke 2
  • pray as you pause an extra minute when getting in or out of your car
  • pray prayers of gratitude to the Light of the World when you pass Christmas lights
  • pray when you open your mail

Psalm 95:6-8

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice ...

To have a peaceful Christmas, we have to tune into the voice of the Christmas Child now grown and seated in heaven. Right now, find an empty bathroom stall at work, pretend to sort presents in your closet, or close the door wherever you are, but turn off the other voices of Christmas. Listen to the One voice.  PRAYER is the key to a peaceful Christmas.

 A "silent night" probably won't just happen. We will have to tune something out to tune into the Father's voice.

If we pray, we will keep the peace of Christmas.

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