The peace we often long for can seem lost in the chaos of Christmas and the aftermath of too much of everything for many people.
Too much stress, too much spending, too much eating, too much disappointment.
The idyllic picture of a silent night, a peaceful night, is often distorted by noise and busyness.
I get it.
We have our entire family together for the first time in almost four years. Since the last time we were all in one place, we’ve added three new grandkids, upping the total to seventeen. The last of the families arrived Christmas Eve, and it’s been nonstop noise and fun since then. They range in age from nine months to twenty years, and each has a unique personality that adds to the fun. Gratefully, they enjoy each other. Such enjoyment also ups the decibel level to quite a cacophony.
Christmas morning, we have traditions that have given meaning to the otherwise wildness of the day. We read the Christmas story from the Bible, and with so many young ones, we read it from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which makes it come alive even for adults.
“And there, in the stable, amongst the chickens and the donkeys and the cows, in the quiet of the night, God gave the world His wonderful gift. The Baby that would change the world was born. His baby Son.” page 182
The shepherds in the fields, the lowliest of the lowly, were the first to hear the great news from a choir of angels. They hurried to Bethlehem to see for themselves what had happened.
“They caught their breath. Then quietly, they tiptoed inside. They knelt on the dirt floor. They had heard about this Promised Child, and now He was here. Heaven’s Son. The Maker of the Stars. A Baby sleeping in His mother’s arms.” page 190
The quiet of the stable where Jesus was born is the calm of Christmas we long for. Simple. Unadorned. No stress, for the Firstborn Son had come without fanfare.
We tire of fanfare.
Even as John read this story, the kids were talking loudly. His voice was often lost in the loudness of the moment. The adults laughed, for the awe and wonder of this day was overcome by the cousins being together and presents awaiting their anxious hands.
We’re all distracted by the noise of life and the expectations of what we hope for and may not have received. The compulsion of Christmas is replaced by the anticipation of celebrating the new year–or not. But the new year will come, and too many will look back and wonder why 2022 was such a disappointment.
We too often expect life to work out for us when we live in a broken world. Too many are cocooned in their tightly managed lives that let no one in but exudes a confidence that isn’t real.
Jesus, Heaven’s Son, came to offer us a life bigger than we can hope for. Not full of stuff and clutter, but overflowing with hope, peace, and a future we can count on in heaven.
That’s real heavenly peace.