Working about the true meaning of “Christmas” this morning, I began to think of “Peace on earth, good will toward men”. It’s so easy to get caught up with the gift-giving, decorating and party-going that we overlook the real purpose of the celebration. Once again, I began thinking about peace on earth and good will toward men. Of course, I want peace on earth. That should go without saying. Then I began to think of good will toward men and I was reminded of political stories everywhere and how I felt divided about some of the players and certainly wasn’t thinking about good will toward them. God is the only creator there is and He doesn’t pick and choose but only sees our perfection. Psalms 145:9 reads “The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
No where does He say “some”, but “all”. I began praying to be meek and know the definitions mean humbly patient; not inclined to anger or resentment; yielding. Now, that is how I can celebrate Christmas and pray to do so.
Last year I read an article about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writing the poem “Christmas Bells” after his son was badly injured during the Civil War. One can feel the pain as he penned the poem but also, the shift as he turned to God.
“And in despair I bowed my head,
There is no peace on earth, I said,
For hate is strong,
And mock the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
But he didn’t stop there because he added
“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
God is not dead nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail,
The right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to man.”
This struck a cord with me as I pray with the latter verse wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth!
Frequently, after Christmas we may feel “let down” or “spent” and maybe even a little sad, but when we turn toward God wholeheartedly, that feeling vanishes. Numbers 6:24-26 reads, “The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” This verse is reassuring to me as I don’t notice an exception to the day after or day before Christmas, but Peace and Joy are always ours when our hearts are receptive to the Truth! Watch our thinking because it is apparent that negative thoughts of any kind cannot and do not come from God.
As I sat down this morning to begin my prayerful study, the thought came that I don’t have the exact count for Christmas dinner two weeks away. From that thought catapulted others equally disturbing and attempting to destroy peace and joy. Then, I humbly gave thanks to be able to notice this subtle disturbance. First of all, I need not humanly outline which is not only disappointing but causes me to overlook other joys! This season is about unconditional Love and understanding and progress in spiritual growth, which doesn’t need to end the day after Christmas
Ephesians 3:20 reads, “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.” We never are expected to overcome shortcomings alone. The battle is always God’s.
Yesterday, I was outside and one of the two little boys who live next door came over to me and asked me if I remembered bringing him and his brother cookies at Christmas. I told him that I did and he replied they were gone now. I asked if he would like more and he said, “Yes”.
Today, I made them chocolate chip cookies and got them each a coloring book, crayons and playdough. This afternoon, my doorbell rang and there was the two little boys and their mother. They had drawn me pictures and written thank-you notes and handed me a can of pork and beans! When I told them I loved everything, each of them told the mom, “See, I told you she would like them!” They were beaming and so, was I. No, I had never received a can of beans as a thank you, but it was the most heartfelt gift I had ever received!