I hope you had a truly wonderful Christmas celebration! At my home, it was a very peaceful day.
I actually slept in until 8:30 Christmas morning. Coffee and sweet rolls were ready to be enjoyed. My wife, daughter, and I opened gifts at a leisurely pace. Then, we each had a part in preparing Christmas dinner. By the end of the day we were well sated, relaxed and peaceful.
I know other people had the joy of having a frenzied day, especially those with young children who found it hard to sleep past 4 a.m., anticipating the treasure trove delivered by Santa during the night. There were those who had large numbers of family members and friends come for dinner and celebration.
The normal distractions and frustrations of life seemed to disappear for one day. The focus was on love, family, friends, joy and peace.
During worship with my two congregations on Christmas Eve morning, I shared two stories of the power that remembering the birth of Jesus has. Both stories had to do with the attaining of peace during war — World War I and World War II in particular.
Both stories talked about Christmas Day and remembering the birth of the Christ-child, and how it had brought about a brief truce. Enemies stopped fighting to spend time together eating, telling stories, singing Christmas carols and even playing soccer against one another. They laid their guns down, which were not even a thought in anyone’s mind.
The day after, Christmas enemies refused to fire the first shots at each other. Spending time together, remembering the Gift from God caused them to realize that those who were their enemies had also been given the same gift. This meant they were all brothers in faith. They were each someone’s child. They were each special and important to others back home. They were each special to God.
I found myself wondering why we cannot have peace like that every day instead of just one day out of the year. Why do people tend to forget the powerful deep meaning of the Christ child coming to earth the other 364 days of the year?
On the brink of a new year, I invite you to ask yourself those same questions. And I invite you to acknowledge that such peace is possible the other 364 days a year. This peace has to begin first and foremost in your heart. No one can do that for you.
Once your heart changes, you will be able to share the peace that was promised in the birth of that tiny baby ages ago. It is a peace that can still come to life today.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.