Contributed by Wes Keller
Are you afraid of anything? You likely are, whether you care to admit it or not. Fear is perhaps the most universal fault and affliction in the human race. A lot of bad behavior comes from being influenced and driven by fear! We often act, or fail to act, because of an entire spectrum of threats we fear, including hunger, loneliness, rejection, humiliation, disease, poverty, death...
Even the most “fearless” people I have known, admit they are too often victims of their own fears. Using myself as an example, there are times when I speak and shouldn’t or when I don’t speak and I should, because of fear of ridicule or rejection. We all have fears, and through the process of maturing, we must learn to deal with them or we squander the opportunity we all have to be free from them.
It is not intuitive, but it is futile to seek peace and rest by working hard to annihilate tenacious fear. The only “work” we can do is to accept and unwrap the gift of peace, and realize we are incapable of making it for ourselves.
Sometimes it is easier to deny or push through a fear because denial is easier than the cure. Amazingly, peace is available to all of us... at any time... in any circumstance, just for the taking! If you don’t believe this, consider stories of people who seem to have “irrational” peace in terrible circumstances (jail, sickness, isolation, needs...). We know peace is attainable because we observe some who have found it. On the other hand, there are those who seem to live and die with no peace at all – continual tragedies with no happy ending.
Like love and joy, peace is not a commodity. None of them can be bought or sold even though we often try with counterfeit cures. Personal peace is a priceless gift. Peace is free. Yet ironically, it will cost you everything. In particular, it will cost every ounce of your pride. For some, the price – the surrender of autonomy – is considered too much. We are indeed utterly free to decide individually if the price of owning peace is worth it or not.
Christmas is the marvelous announcement that peace has been made available to every person on Earth. But each person has to make their own choice to accept this free-to-all-with-the-highest-cost-ever gift. Those who do choose this gift contribute much to society! Those who have inner peace are fun to be around. They laugh easily and a lot, they rarely grumble or gossip, they don’t get offended easily and often are the first to help and encourage people with hurts. If anyone wants peace, the source is proclaimed in the Christmas message, hidden behind our frenzied celebrations. If you doubt me, research for yourself the real meaning of Christmas, and you will find the only thing between you and peace is your choice to “buy in” or not.
Several thousand years ago, a child’s birth was proclaimed by angels who proclaimed the child’s name to be the Prince of Peace! “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth...” (Luke 2:14) Even long before that first Christmas, He was named as the Prince of Peace. “And He will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
You can find countless scriptures confirming that God the Father has provided peace for every person in the world. He proclaimed this gift through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ. He also revealed how to get peace, “[They have] perfect peace, those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Many have a visceral reaction to the name of Jesus Christ; sadly, this reaction obscures the best ever Christmas present - peace.
If you are newly interested in peace, listen and actually consider the words of traditional Christmas carols. At the very least, consider this quote from Dr. Seuss’ well-known, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ‘til his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. ‘What if Christmas,’ he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?’”
Merry Christmas to you, and may you find peace this Christmas season.
Wes Keller | www.WesKeller.com