December 17, 2007
The Real Picture of Peace
By Tracie Miles
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14 (NKJV)
Choosing just the right Christmas card to send to my friends and family is always something I put a lot of thought into. As I looked over the variety of cards on the store shelves this year, I noticed they all had one thing in common. Whether the pictures showed lit candles on a festive table, a warm fireplace with stockings hung in a row, a smiling family having Christmas dinner, or a blanket of new fallen snow in a moon-lit meadow, they all portrayed a feeling of serenity and peace. I wish I could say those images signify the holidays at my house, but there are days when peace and serenity seem to be unattainable!
Just this week I found myself yearning for the peace so often portrayed on Christmas cards – the peace of perfect families, perfect gifts, perfect meals and perfect weather. In my heart, however, I know that the real picture of peace is not found in any of these things. The peace I long for is found when I set my eyes on Jesus, the Prince of Peace who came to bring peace to our hearts and homes.
Sometimes I close my eyes and ponder the picture Jesus’ birth. Though chaos reigned in the small
I tend to set my sights on holiday projects, and devote my time to things that the world thinks are important, but not necessarily the things that Jesus thinks are important. Jesus does not care about how beautiful my Christmas tree is, how many presents I have under it, or how many candles I have lit in my windows. Jesus cares about the people I invite into my home to celebrate in His birth, the times I share the light of His love with others, and the times I’m willing to put the needs of others before my own selfish desires.
Deep in my heart those are the things that I care most about, too. When I know I’ve shown the love of Jesus to others, only then can I truly have the peace that is waiting for me at Christmas time. These are the things that please Him and give peace to me! As today’s key verse promises, we will have peace when God is pleased.
A real picture of peace at Christmas is not holidays with an absence of stress or strife, but a heart with a passion for Jesus and a love for sharing the gift of life that God gave us through the birth of His son.
Dear Lord, help me avoid getting so caught up in worldly holiday traditions that I lose sight of the heart–gifts You want me to give to others this Christmas. Fill me with a true peace that can only be found through living a life that is pleasing to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Make a list of ideas for how you can share God’s love with others. Click here for a list of ways to show “love in action” this Christmas.
Consider ways for giving non-monetary gifts that will be meaningful to the recipients.
Do something unexpectedly nice for as many as you can this month.
Do I put more worth on the monetary value of gifts I give or receive, or the love and thought that was put into the gift giving?
John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (NIV)
Ephesians 2:17, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.” (NIV)
Romans 12:18, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 17 December 2007.