[Previous title: “A Week Before Christmas”]
It is Sunday, one week before Christmas, and I am taking a moment to be calm, to think only about what brings a sense of nurture, to breathe, and to let what is peaceful in life flow into and through me.
I am mindful of one thing above all else …
“All I want for Christmas is Peace.”
Those are the words that I wrote to accompany a photograph that I posted onto my Instagram account this morning. Those words speak deeply from my soul. Those words mean much. Those words, frankly, mean everything to me.
In exactly seven days time it will be the day that we, around the world, refer to as Christmas. Christ-mas.
Where is Christ in the “Christmas” that we know today?
We all know that the suffering and enormous shifts towards what is negative in the world this year have been unbelievable, at times unutterably bizarre. We all know that materialism is robbing those who (literally) have nothing … no thing … many no food, no home, no dignity, no love, no warmth, no hope …. nothing. We have all heard (if we have a device that would enable us to read this note) about the untold millions who are going without while we devour. We know about the craziness on the American continent, which is causing so many to shake their heads in dumbfounded disbelief. In the midst of that, we know about the excrutiating pain, hunger and fear experienced by those in the current war zones … and there are those even in countries ‘at peace’, who suffer unimaginable harm behind closed doors. We have all seen the faces of starving people – mothers, children, men – in Africa and in other places, and the beasts with bare ribcages, and we have heard of and seen drought conditions that are ravaging large pockets of our precious Earth. But do we care?
Do we change our ways, seek to heal the wounded children within ourselves so that we can go out and make a positive difference in a hurting world?
Do we reach a point of saturation with all the knowledge and vision of suffering and despair in huge areas of the world, turn off all the negative news … or do we feed on it and let it rub salt into our wounds?
For those who believe in the Christ, after whom the festive season has been named, this is a time of celebration and of joy, of anticipation for the feasting that will come next weekend and the exchange of gifts displayed under all manner of shapes, styles and colours of Christmas tree … Even those who do not believe in Christ will gather together to do the same … some thanking Santa Claus (Father Christmas would be more precise, if the real spirit of Christmas was still observed), for what indulgences they receive. And while we do this, while we feast, and fest, and furiously unwrap gifts adorned with papers that have caused the felling of many, many trees … and then throw everything that wrapped those gifts unthinkingly into the rubbish bin … we forget that there are those who have NO thing. NO one. NO love. NO home. No Christmas even …
Many around the world have no knowledge of and have never heard of the man called “Christ”. The One who came to earth, was born in a stable, performed miracles as a ‘human’ man, taught profound wisdom simply, died, rose again … continues to influence those who believe …
I have digressed from what started out as my contemplations on peace … I have digressed because my heart overflows … I have digressed because, like so many in our Western culture, my year has also held surges of challenge … nothing like those without anything for Christmas, but my pain and suffering has been of relative nature too. 2016 has been a year that has marked personal and family milestones, and it has held significant further growth and challenges that have rubbed up against me alongside those. Some of the challenges I have faced have done their best to defeat me, to rob me of my joy … but I have held on … and I have held on … to the hand and to the love of Christ … no matter what. I want to celebrate his birth, his light, his unfailing love, his richness, his loyalty, his hope, his courage, his example of perseverance against all odds, his promises, his delivery of the goods … and that I do deep down in my soul. I find Christ when I switch off the noise and listen … listen for the peace that is hidden deep down, within. This peace is available to each of us.
Our world is crying out for peace.
Our peace will come when we readjust our focus and become intentional about seeking it.
Our children will witness peace first hand when we learn to model it.
Christmas … “for unto us a child is born” … is supposed to convey a message of Love, of Hope, of Peace.
That is all I ask for Christmas …
“All I want for Christmas is Peace.”
Peace is a five letter word that makes all the difference to each of us, when we find it, and peace is the place where hope resides.
May your Christmas be a meaningful one.
May your heart know the love of God … which is boundless. God’s heart is pure peace. In God there is no fear … only the many faces of true Love.
Joy, hope, love, and Peace to the world.
It is what will feed those who have not … it is where Love resides.
It is all I ask for Christmas.
Just Peace. In every guise.
It is nearly Christmas, after all.
~ Holly ~
Note: the featured photograph is taken from a Christmas card, purchased from the RHS – horticultural charity – part of an illustration designed by Alison McGarrigle (courtesy Portfolio Select Ltd).