And on earth peace, good will to men. (Luke 2:14)
I'm a list maker, a skill to be desired except at Christmas. How early do you start and at what point are you satisfied? A friend and I used to giggle in choir as we practiced "We'll Deck the Halls with Holly Bright" and checked what cards were addressed, how many cookies were made, and gatherings created and attended. The biggest hope seemed to be to survive to the end. Joy came in bursts as delight exploded from a special project. Love floated through the days as an underlying stream. Only peace seemed elusive, just out of reach. No one said "all is calm," "all is quiet."
Peace is what is given to us, not what we provide. Last year in December, that special feeling came in the time honored way of Luke 2. In the Smith family of 104, Generation 1 had died, and the death of the last of three sons made me the only one left of Generation 2. A gathering came to San Antonio: grandchildren and great grandchildren and nieces and nephews. All put "Christmas" on hold to remember and hug and be a family. Over the noise, I heard a special voice say, "Aunt Charis."
I turned to see a great niece and a two-week-old great-great nephew. "Oh, may I hold him?"
She replied, "That's why I brought him." There was nothing else I had to do.
That conversation needs to be repeated by each of us. Over eons, God promised that His love and care for us would come as a baby. When a baby is in the room, all attention is focused on that small child, and the love, joy, and hope it represents gives us all the peace we need.
Dear Lord, help us be shepherds so that we may go to the hillside and hear the fulfillment of your love.