If you’ve been a Christian for a minute, you know what Christmas should be about. Right? It should be a time to reflect on the “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). It should be a time to explore the reality of Christ’s peace on earth (Luke 2:14). Our Saviour is born! The light is here! Christmas should be a profound season.
Knowing how to find peace and joy within tinsel and turkey-filled chaos can prove elusive. The reason for the season becomes blurred by the stresses of the season. And I don’t want that to be the case. This year, I want to embrace the true reality of a Christ-filled Christmas. Do you?
So as you’re reading, pause and reflect briefly on your life as Christmas approaches.
How do you feel? Have you yet found a proper space to ponder on the fact Christmas is coming, and what it means?
If we’re going to find peace in Christ’s incarnation this year, we’ll need to be intentional about it.
Christmas: The Peace Thief
The challenge to find peace at this time of year is clear. Christmas is fun but can also be carnage: a beautiful but difficult time. For many, the season can feel like a bauble-covered train wreck. Busy schedules. Over-hyped children. An infinite gift-list with a very finite budget. Relational tension. Rainy weather. It can become enough to make us want to scream – with stress, frustration, overwhelm or all three.
If we’re to find peace in Christ this holiday season, we must first acknowledge that our modern culture’s consumeristic version of Christmas is a far cry from the humility of Jesus’ birth. Society’s version of Christmas steals our peace, rather than adding to it – and this is a problem.
To find real peace, we need to re-prioritise and simplify our festive rhythms around the profound reality of Christ rather than worldly demands: a radical re-orientation. We must be aware of the pressures of this intense time and resolve to resist society’s relentless pace, returning instead to the One whom we are actually trying to worship. “To set the mind on the flesh is death,” the Apostle Paul reminds us, “but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
Christ: The Peace Giver
Scripture is clear in its witness: Real peace is only found in Christ. And that’s true this Christmas too. He is our overflowing source of love, peace and joy. Paul emphasises the point as he prays in 2 Thessalonians 3:16: “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way”. If you want to know how to find peace during this holiday season, there’s only one place to look: Jesus. He is the Lord of peace. Seeking peace anywhere else will ultimately prove fruitless.
Let’s look at some practical ideas to contemplate as you pursue Christ’s peace this Christmas:
1. Embrace Advent
There are times when the traditional church calendar is a precious help as we seek to live as Jesus-followers. Advent is one of those times, when we can both remember Jesus’ first coming and look forward to His return. It’s a prompt to slow down, to reflect carefully on Christ’s message and to regain perspective on our lives.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, consider embracing Advent this year. There are many Advent devotionals available to help you reflect on Christ’s incarnation, including some helpful content on Glorify’s Blog. Churches everywhere put on beautiful Advent services. Advent calendars can be more than a daily chocolate, but a daily reminder of Jesus’ truth. Pursue advent, and you will find Christ’s peace again.
2. Embrace Quiet
“After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.” Matthew 14:23
Christmas is associated with noise: parties, people and clamour. While all this can be fun, we must be mindful that the constant hubbub can be a key contributor to our lack of festive peace. While Jesus walked on earth, He regularly modelled the need for quiet during busy seasons. Whenever Jesus had a big decision to make, or was going through intensity, the Gospels regularly record Him retreating into prayerful spaces to reflect.
Put bluntly, if Jesus needed that, we need it too. If you want peace this Christmas, you need to find quiet. Don’t let it slip off your radar. It doesn’t have to be for hours. But it must be intentionally sought. In the quiet space, we can hear God, recalibrate and regain true perspective on our lives.
Where is your quiet space?
This festive season, don’t let your routines of finding prayerful spaces vanish. Instead, pursue them even more. A good rhythm of quiet amongst the noise will help you to find unexpected peace throughout Christmas, whatever the holiday season may throw at you.
3. Embrace Community
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.” Colossians 3:15
The pursuit of Christ’s peace is not just an individual activity. Rather, it is also discovered within our communities. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is powerfully present amongst His people whenever they are together. He moves through His church. As God’s people, we are radically called to loving community and within that environment, we are to both experience and make peace.
Sometimes, the deepest peace is discovered through relational connection with others. This Christmas, don’t allow yourself to become isolated in your struggles. Finding peace often starts by being vulnerable and asking for help. You need those around you. We all do. If you’re struggling for peace today, consider who you might be able to reach out to. God works through people, and He may use others to minister His peace to you.
Embrace community this holiday season and allow Christ’s peace to rest upon you and your loved ones as you do so. Ask for help if you need it.
How To Find Peace: Look To Jesus
“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” John 1:14
The conclusion, then, is clear. If you want peace at Christmas, you need Jesus.
As Christians, we are never alone. God wants to give us His gift of transcendent peace. This season, embrace Advent, quiet and community and let them all point you towards the Prince of Peace: Christ Himself.
Photo by Kieran White on Unsplash
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash