[ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Colleen Arisnabarreta and her husband Ricardo recently welcomed their first child into the world, a handsome little boy named Julian. This sweet family is part of the Glen Elm Church of Christ.]
When I think about peace there are so many images that come to mind. Having had the opportunity to meet many different people of different faiths, different walks of life, in different parts of the world, and in different languages, I can say that despite our differences we are all seeking the same. We want a sense of security, to feel safe, to feel loved and to have PEACE in our hearts and minds.
As Christians we have the gift of PEACE. It is what helps us to push forward in the difficult times, it is what allows us to close our eyes at night without being ruined with worry or anxiety. It is what helps us to make decisions with our partners, and it is what makes us want to share Christ with others. Peace is the greatest gift that you could share with someone.
Christmas time is such an amazing time. Families come together, gifts are bought, food is consumed, we gather in warm and cozy homes with our loved ones. Christmas time is also a painful time. Rifts between families appear so much larger and hurt so much more when your family does not meet around a table because tensions are too high. The pain of loss is suffocating when you are reminded of a person who is no longer there to share in these special moments. Stress and anxiety and worthlessness are familiar emotions to those who can not afford to buy a turkey to eat, nevermind all the gifts that come along with it.
I struggle to balance these emotions at Christmas time. So many people hurting and so many of us living in abundance with so many blessings. Where is the happy medium? I know that there is only one source of PEACE that can reach every heart.
To me, the peace that we can find in God is the unmatched gift at Christmas. It is the gift that can humble those who are blessed and fill the hearts of those that are in need. The peace of God is unlke anything else in the world. We have unconditional love that can heal the rifts between families, that can soften hearts, that can numb the sense of loss, and take the value and importance away from worldly gifts. It can break down the pride in those who gain confidence in their worldly possessions and bring the wealthiest people in the world to their knees. When you have the peace of God in your life you have the confidence to face every day, regardless of your challenges and hardships.
We have PEACE knowing that God is PERFECT and everything in his plan is PERFECT.
When I have suffered, I have turned to Ecclesiastes 3 many times. It always brings reminds me of the PEACE that we can have in Christ.
A Time for Everything
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been,and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.
I find PEACE in Christ knowing that He has promised us that EVERYTHING IS PERFECT IN ITS TIME. It always reminds me that I need not worry, that we cannot fathom what God has planned or the work He is doing in our lives. What He does is perfect and we can have PEACE in knowing that His plan is PERFECT. If we are strong or weak, if we are in good times or bad times, if we are suffering or filled with happiness He knows where we are, he knows why we are there and he meets us there in that place.
As Christians we can have PEACE because we know that God is unchanging. He will stretch us and we will go through dark times but we know that God has a plan even if these are painful times. (Jeremiah 29:11 emphasizes ¨plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future¨.) We always know that we can turn to God in prayer, his love is never ending, and he has good plans for us. We can have PEACE in his never-failing love for us.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
“Así que no temas, porque yo estoy contigo; no te angusties, porque yo soy tu Dios. Te fortaleceré y te ayudaré; te sostendré con mi diestra victoriosa”