Two years ago at Christmas, Curt and I were furiously trying to finish remodeling our home so that we could move in before the return of our Lord. It was absolutely the most stressful time of our marriage to date. There was not much holiday cheer in the little townhouse that we were so eager to vacate. We chose not to bother with decorating since we had enough to deal with between the house and a baby on the way.
Last year was going to be the most wonderful Christmas of all time. It was going to be one that we talked about for years to come. We had an adorable ten-month-old to add to all the joy of the season. It was his first Christmas, so we would need to document every little thing that happened and make everything as special as possible. We had a very cute house to decorate to our hearts' content. And boy, did we. Looking back, I can see that I was putting, hmmmm, just a leetle bit of pressure on, well, everyone and everything for it to be nothing less than magical. It makes me tired just thinking about it. And, honestly, I made no room in my heart for the baby Jesus. No room at all. In fact, on Christmas Day I started a huge argument with my sister. Yep, it was me. I picked it. And it was a big one.
This year is going to be different. The name of the game is peace. Financial peace. Sisterly peace. Peace in our schedule. Peace inside my house. (With about half the decorations we have instead of it looking like I robbed Hobby Lobby.) Peace outside my house. (With about half the Christmas lights we had last year, when Curt channeled Clark Griswold). Peace in my expectations. Peace in my heart with God.
Peace is something I will fight for this year. I want to enjoy this Christmas without all the self-inflicted pressure, unreasonable expectations, and needless distractions. I need there to be room for the baby Jesus, who, incidentally, is our peace.
I think if Mary had given birth to Jesus in 2007, she might have gone on eBay and ordered some custom-painted letters that spelled out his name on the wall. She might have emailed a picture of his crib bedding to the artist so that she could make it all match. To spell P-R-I-N-C-E O-F P-E-A-C-E would have cost Mary an arm and a leg. She might have even hoped Joseph wouldn't notice the $150 to PayPal on their bank statement. But those 13 letters are worth all the money in the world. They're the most lavish, expensive, mind-blowing, life-changing present we could ever give or get.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.