This is week two of the Advent Season. Much like Lent, believers would fast and pray from mid-November until Christmas. Originally, it was a time for believers to prepare themselves for baptism, but during the Middle Ages, the focus changed to the Second Coming of Jesus. Only in recent years has the focus changed to the Nativity.
Last week we looked at hope for advent. In many ways, this week’s theme is closely related. All the stuff that attacks your hope will also work to steal your peace.
What do you do when circumstances besiege you, bombard you on all sides telling you that a season of peace is unrealistic? Naive? Childish?
Peace wasn’t a feeling or an absence of that nagging fear I couldn’t seem to shed. . . . For me, peace has always been a person. ~Michele Cushatt, Undone
Where Is God in This Season of Peace?
The year Dad went into a nursing home was difficult. When we moved him into our home in early November, I had visions of enjoying him like never before. I could introduce him to our family’s traditions, surround him with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. And probably his personal favorite: feed him many of his favorite dishes, including a slice or two of pie at every holiday meal.
But then I had to call an ambulance and keep my siblings who lived in other states informed. All my dreams of Christmas with Dad had to be packed away for the reality before us.
- How can God be good and allow this?
- Can God not control what’s happening?
- Or at least schedule the difficulty after the holidays?
But this is the season of peace, if you want it to be. Christmas is the season of peace because out of incredible love that we cannot completely understand, we can remember that God in His love sent Jesus to earth. Jesus in His love was obedient all the way to His death on the cross. And if that wasn’t already enough, the Holy Spirit in His love lives within those who accept these truths. The full meaning behind those actions convey more peace than we realize most of the time. And it should so fill us that it splashes over onto those around us.
Books That May Help
If you struggle to live in peace this holiday season, a fresh perspective from someone who has been there can help. Our enemy wants us to believe that we are alone, but we never are. We not only have the Holy Spirit, but others on this earth have struggled where you struggled, faced what you face, journeyed past where you feel stuck.
Here are some books that may offer a life-changing, peace-filled view that you need this Christmas.
256 pages. Paperback, eBook, and audiobook versions. Undone is author Michele Cushatt’s quest to make peace with a complicated life. It is an honest confession of a diagnosis of cancer and the joys and disappointments of motherhood and marriage, ripe with regret over what is and, yet, still hopeful for what could be. With enough humor to ease the rawness of the story, Undone takes the reader on a roller coaster two-year journey through the unexpectedness of life. (NOTE: You can read my thoughts on this book by clicking here.)
It’s Okay Not to Be Okay by Sheila Walsh
208 pages. Hardback, paperback, eBook, and audiobook versions.We’ve all experienced that moment where we wish we could start all over again. Failed marriages, lost friends, addictions, lost jobs. This is not the life we imagined. Yesterday can sometimes leave us stuck, sad, shamed, scared, and searching. Sheila Walsh encourages readers to face the pain head on and then start again, from right where they are. She shares that when she discovered “I’m not good enough and I’m good with that,” everything started to change. (NOTE: You can read my thoughts on this book by clicking here.)
256 pages. Hardcover, paperback, eBook, and audiobook versions. Life often looks so very different than we hoped or expected. Some events may simply catch us off guard for a moment, but others shatter us completely. We feel disappointed and disillusioned, and we quietly start to wonder about the reality of God’s goodness. Lysa TerKeurst understands this deeply. But she’s also discovered that our disappointments can be the divine appointments our souls need to radically encounter God.
If you are ever tempted for a moment to doubt your worth, remember this: The only innocent one who ever lived is marked forever because He thought you were worth it. ~Sheila Walsh, It’s Okay Not to Be Okay
Walking through difficult times is, well, difficult. Sometimes just finding the strength to get out of bed is more than we want to do. It’s okay to cry and doubt and wrestle with the Almighty as you walk through your pain. But we were not made to forever wallow in despair. Wandering around the world without any peace is not your legacy.
This Christmas season, I’m praying that you find more and greater peace than ever before.