Pastor's Blog

Christmas Peace? Posted 12.02.2016

Christmas is a little different around our house in these days.  It used to be a bit more scripted.  Or should I say, it used to be more controlled.  The children loved our traditions – putting the star on top of the tree, counting down to Christmas with the Advent calendar, and getting to put straw in the manger (for good behavior).  Somehow Jesus always showed up on Christmas morning with lots and lots of straw.  But with three active children, it was always a bit of a mini-battle as to who got to do what.  Fortunately, through generous gifts, we had three Advent calendars, so they could each “maintain” one of the calendars every day – in a carefully choreographed rotation, of course.


How did that work?  We had “the chart,” updated and persevered year by year.  Hey, we had to be “fair.”  Mom knew whose turn it was to put that start up on top of the tree.  Mom knew who started with which calendar (of course there was a favorite one).  Anything to prevent a minor dustup on the road to a peaceful celebration. I mean…’tis the season for peace, love, and joy and all of that.  But the maintenance of peace comes with a price.  So, the annual “Christmas Chore Rotation Chart” was born.  Peace reigned.  Well, at least fairness reigned.


I sure hope some of this sounds familiar or perhaps my parenting skills needed some polishing back then.  I mean I know they did, but sometimes you just figure how to maintain a semblance peace and joy during the “most wonderful time of the year.”


I had forgotten about all this organizational structure until this week, when the Advent Calendars were up -- but empty.  What?  It was December and there was no battle to do the daily adjustment.  I got to do it this week.  Wow, that’s a first.  In a very long time.


Christmas is different these days.  We will put our tree (perhaps) tomorrow.  There won’t be a big fight about who gets to put up the star.  Normally, the tallest does the honor, because no one wants to stand on a chair any more. Or drag out the step stool.


But there is one thing that is the same in our house.  The message of the manger has not changed.  Not at all.  God had to send His Son because, as Paul Tripp says, “the disease of sin is terminal and none of us is able to escape it.”  We can hope and pray for all the peace in our homes that we want, but without the manger, peace is not possible.  Not for very long at least.


Peace takes a lot of work, even for the redeemed of this world.  As we enter a season in which we all strive for just a little peace, don’t forget it takes effort.  And maybe some charts.  But maybe, more importantly, more telling of the story of Bethlehem.  But as our house is more quiet, it’ll only be more peaceful as I put Jesus at the center of each day.  In my own life.  You mean I could have had peace all along, if only….  Yes.  It’s true.  If only….


But I do miss the chaos.


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