Practices of Peace: Peace at Home
Whether you are buzzing about Christmas, or perhaps feeling slightly anxious - let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts this Christmas, whatever your situation may be.
“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 message of Christ, dwell among you richly, as you teach and admonish one another, with all wisdom through psalms hymns and songs from the Spirit. Singing to God, with gratitude in your heart. And whatever you do whether in thought or word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.” Colossians 3:15-17 [punctuation added]
My Dad is always at work on Christmas day. Comes with the territory of being a minister unfortunately. So we have to make the most of every moment he’s home. My Mum tends to take care of the hosting business, and lately that’s been more demanding with her two elderly in-laws staying, with their various health needs. My little sister has severe learning disabilities meaning her life is either extreme hyperactivity and unbridled joy, or it’s an uncontrollable tantrum at an ever-rising decibel. My brother and his new(ish) wife are there for a few short days, often coinciding with the days our friends’ giant dog stays with us. Then we have my husband (who was the best man at my brother’s wedding - hello Hollyoaks), and often we have an uncle visiting from Canada.
I don’t know about you, but peace isn’t the first word that comes to mind when I consider Christmas in my home. Perhaps you’re the same? Maybe it’s the relentless arguing, the hard-to-love relatives, the exhausting children, or the absence of a loved one. Whatever it is for you, Christmas at home just can’t live up to that happy-ending moment in any of our family festive movies.
And yet this passage tells us that peace is of Christ – the very same Christ whose birth Christmas is all about! So how can we find this peace in our homes this year?
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you… do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
The peace Jesus has given us is the Holy Spirit of God (John 14v26). Who is Jesus that he can give us such a gift? Why was this Spirit his to give? Isaiah tells us that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.” The Spirit was his. Is his. Is him. Jesus gave us himself when he died and rose. Around this time of year, we often hear the name Emmanuel being used for Jesus, meaning ‘God with us’. The Holy Spirit says that this also means ‘Peace with us’. But it’s hard to know what that really looks like! I don’t often feel like someone who has peace living within them. What might it look like for the Prince of Peace to rule in our hearts and homes this Christmas, especially when our homes feel anything but peaceful?
So often we face arguments and bitterness when the whole family comes together – this year ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart’ as you choose to forgive and ask for forgiveness first.
The Christmas season can make the death of a loved one all the more painful – ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart’ as you comfort others with the comfort given to you by our gentle King.
Perhaps a long-standing grudge or a persistent health problem make Christmas that bit more complicated – ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart’ as you encourage and demonstrate community and supporting others.
It’s easy to follow Christian tradition at this time of year, but you may avoid Jesus for the rest of the year – ‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart’ by seeking his guidance and protection over your faith and life.
Proverbs 3:17 tells us that the paths of wisdom are peace. So if this Christmas you’re a bit like me, and peace seems to belong on an exotic beach rather than the family sofa, what we need is wisdom. Pray for wisdom right now (no really, right now) and she will guide you down paths of peace this Christmas.
Father in heaven, Prince of Peace, grant to us the message of Christ. Make it the reason for our thankfulness, the ruler of our hearts and our homes, and the source of our unshakeable peace.
Abby completed a Psychology degree in Sheffield, a Master's in Nottingham and spent time with CCEF studying biblical counselling in America. Abby is passionate about helping girls to grow in the knowledge that we are all broken, but that we have the strength of Christ overflowing in us. Abby and her husband, Ben, also lead the student work at their church Beeston Free Evangelical Church.