Peace at Christmas

And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” Matthew 14: 25-33

Sometimes when my 3-year-old son gets up in the middle of the night, he sleepily asks me “Tell me about Jesus,” as I put him back to bed. It is such a beautiful reminder for me, and a refocus on the One I love, even if I am half asleep. I think throughout our day it is very easy to let worries, cares, trials, uncertainties, fear and so many other things get our focus and keep us from our Love. Even at Christmas, there is much to distract us. Then, we beat ourselves up over being distracted. The focus is still lost. Instead of this, I want to remind us about the One we love, the One who loves us so incomprehensibly. When you start to lose your focus (or if it is all the way gone), you can think on these things and remember Him. Let me remind you about Jesus, the One whose birth Christmas celebrates.

Jesus is the One who stands with us through thick and thin. He remains faithful regardless of our actions towards Him, waiting for us to turn to Him and accept that love. We look all over the world for a human to love us unconditionally (a giant hoax, in my humble opinion) when the God of the universe does so every day. Each day when I get up, the failures of yesterday do not determine today. His mercies are new, His grace meets me freshly each day. He knows me inside and out—I can’t hide anything from Him. Yet, even with this brutal knowledge, He loves deeply, purely and often unrequitedly.

He has a plan, and in that plan, His goal is that I know Him. He will continue to put me and everyone else in the best place to know Him. This is very comforting when I am crying out in desperation about someone who doesn’t seem to care about God. I have to believe that every day, Jesus is allowing events in a person’s life to give them the best chance to choose Him that day. Also, it means that everything that happens in my life (good or bad) is something that I can allow to bring me into His presence. My suffering is not random and insignificant. Rather, Jesus holds me through it and brings me into His presence over and over. If I can really get a hold of that, I am free no matter the circumstances. We are never slaves to what is happening around us or to us.

Those two things I hold on to when I cannot see Jesus because of the waves that are beating against me. He loves me, and He has a plan. There is so much more to Jesus, but this is enough for now, especially when I am in the midst of trial, uncertainty and pain. These are the things I can think about at Christmas, regardless of what is going on with my family, my finances, my living situation. He loves me fiercely and He knows the way ahead. I keep my eyes on Him and my heart and mind can be in Peace. Isn’t that what we crave most at Christmas—peace? “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled,

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