Peace on Earth or Christmas Chaos

December brings with it the anticipation of and celebration of Christmas, the advent of Jesus Christ, that great day when the God of all creation was born into a desperate world in order to dwell with his people and to rescue the world from the curse of sin and chaos. Ironically this is also a month which brings with it its own degree of chaos. For many of us this is the busiest month of the year and in our desperation to “celebrate” and to spend money and to do all the traditional activities of the Christmas season we find ourselves less involved in the celebration of the day God came to save us from chaos and more caught up in the chaos itself than ever before. We find ourselves anything but free from sin. We find ourselves overwhelmed and stressed out instead of free in Christ to celebrate his saving love and the peace he brings. It’s an ironic reality indeed.

When the angels came to the shepherds to announce the coming of Jesus, they shouted "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people on whom his favor rests."

“Peace” they said, and yet we often feel just the opposite in December. So what might we do about this? Should we drop the holiday altogether and find a different day to celebrate, a day which will be free from commercial distraction? Perhaps we could celebrate in January like the Orthodox Church does. Christmas in December has been stolen from us, stolen by the business, stolen by the distractions of money and presents and even church activities. Perhaps the best solution is to take back Christmas. Perhaps the best thing we can do is to celebrate Christmas with the anticipation of the coming of Jesus by creatively finding ways to avoid all the distractions and by relentlessly seeking out peace and claiming it wherever we find it. We are free to dedicate ourselves to hope and joy at Christmas rather than business and chaos. In the midst of the storm of commercial distraction and traditional activities we can call on Jesus who calms the storm. We can focus once again on what Christmas is all about and subtly subvert the business into an expression of freedom and hope in the incarnation of God and the birth of Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.

Try it. Seek out creative ways to avoid the Christmas rush. Seek out ways to bring your family together not just out of tradition but bring them together to pause, slow down, and celebrate the peace of Christmas. Make this Christmas a season of remembrance starting today and don’t get caught up in the whirlwind. Don’t look back in January and realize that in all the rush of the Christmas season you never stopped long enough to celebrate what Christmas is truly all about.