While Christmas shopping years ago, I purchased JOY, HOPE and PEACE. Browsing at one of my favorite shops, long since closed, I spied a small box containing those three words in tin letters strung on a thin ribbon. At home I was using a similar HALLELUJAH strand in the dining room window. Perfect! JOY, HOPE and PEACE could adorn the den.
Upon arriving home and opening the box, I discovered that PEACE was missing. Clearly, PEACE was featured on the cover of the box. If you have JOY and HOPE, surely you must have PEACE, especially if you paid for it! I returned JOY and HOPE to the shop HOPING to be reunited with PEACE. It wasn’t to be. No boxes remained offering the trinity. The nice lady behind the counter could not account for the missing PEACE but did offer to discount the price of JOY and HOPE. I returned home and for the next 10 years hung (the discounted) JOY & HOPE in my window at Christmas. Nothing wrong with keeping JOY and HOPE alive.
Earlier this month, I retrieved the HALLELUJAH and JOY & HOPE boxes ready to hang the strands. Lo and behold, PEACE was residing in the box with JOY & HOPE. I was stunned. After all these years, PEACE had returned to fill the void that had taken its place.
I tried to hang PEACE with JOY & HOPE. It did not belong. PEACE begged for a place all its own, free and unequaled. The meaning of it all is not lost to me.
As many a greeting card portrays, “Wise men still seek Him.” I am an epically huge fan of Christmas. For as long as I can remember, I have been profoundly moved at one unique moment at Christmas with a special lesson from our Savior. It never comes at the same time or in the venue. I know its arrival as well as the fingers on my own hands. The lesson is not always as palpable as the missing PEACE – the lesson sent to me this year.
Merriam-Webster defines PEACE as freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions; a state of tranquility or quiet. This year has been incredibly blessed and busy, filled with challenge, success, profound sadness, utter delight, disappointment, heartbreak, waiting, and overwhelming wonder. JOY and HOPE were always present and along the way I had my fair share of HALLELUJAHS! But they were all discounted by the absence of PEACE. “Peace is more than just a feeling. It’s the mental and physical frequency where you’ll find all your real power,” (Martha Beck).
When I assist others in discerning their purposes, gifts and mission fields, I am reminded, “Most people think that once they’ve found their purpose and the power to practice it, they’ll finally be at peace. Actually, though, it’s only by starting in a place of peace that we find our purpose and power. Peace is the first step and the final lesson we all need to learn,” (Oprah).
PEACE is a life lesson, not exclusive to Christmas. JOY and HOPE and their corresponding HALLELUJAHS are, indeed discounted without PEACE. You can dangle them anytime and anywhere. But PEACE must be present for the fullness to complete the circle. You cannot give what you do not have. There is no PEACE on Earth without PEACE within. “Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas,” (Calvin Coolidge).
I pray you know and feel the real Spirit of Christmas adorned with JOY, HOPE & PEACE and may you experience the wonder of many HALLELUJAHS, not only this Season but in the year to come.
~ From the desk of Becky Morlok ~
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