If I could set the ideal Christmas scene, it would look something like this: The kids would be bathed, dressed in their Christmas pajamas and nodding off to sleep. My wife and I would be sitting down on the couch with a warm cup of coffee, a well-lit Christmas tree, and some Christmas music quietly playing in the background. Everything would be calm, quiet, still, and peaceful.
Flash back to reality…the kids are crying because they don’t want to go to bed, the coffee is cold because I poured it an hour ago and haven’t had the time to get to it yet, and my wife and I end up being the ones passed out asleep on the couch, exhausted from last-minute shopping and trying to get three excited kids to bed. Talking with other parents, this seems to be about the norm. And even if you aren’t a parent, the reality of life has a way of falling short of the ideals we set when it comes to finding peace.
I would say having peace is one of my greatest desires. I have spent a lot of years chasing the ideal time, place, situation, environment where I can find peace. I long for the ideal, but if that is the only way I ever find peace, reality works hard to make sure that I never have peace.
But I am finding that peace isn’t found in a place. It isn’t found in an ideal set of circumstances. Peace is found in a person. It’s found in the presence of God, who condescended. It’s found in a baby who would grow to be a man who would rescue His people: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
Jesus gives peace in a way that nothing else can. He offers it, not in giving us the ideal, but by giving us His presence and promising to be with us, even when our lives aren’t ideal. So, when the kids are going crazy and you land home exhausted…Jesus is there. When you work extra hours and your heart longs for home…Jesus is there. When you struggle with why a child has wandered from the faith…Jesus is there. When you visit your sick wife in the hospital because cancer is winning…Jesus is there. When everything seems like it is failing or falling apart…Jesus is there.
And the promise of God is that where Jesus is…there is possibility for peace!