Giving Your Way to Peace


Winston Churchill

The holiday season has arrived again and brings the reminder that in all of the activity surrounding family and personal traditions, for many people Christmas is a holiday attached to a deeply embedded personal need to experience the joy of connection with others in a world filled with controversy. The holiday season exemplifies the profound personal and felt need that people possess to connect with other people, especially family or those that we love. Within the themes that the religious world presents about Christmas, especially within Christianity, the message and symbols of the season point to a central belief that a relationship with Christ brings the ultimate source of peace. Peace, that is the essential building block to joyful fulfilling relationships made possible by the revelation of Jesus Christ as the redeemer of life by providing the gift of a spiritual relationship with God through redemption. In the moments of the season of Christmas, the reminder in the season resonates the message that faith in the person of Christ as redeemer and Savior is the path to personal peace between God and man. What a wonderful reminder that in relationship with Christ, there can be found a method and power to guide, structure, and build the elements of present peace, and eternal hope for peace in the experience of life.

Disconnected Joy and Peace

Unfortunately, in the real world of the 21st Century, there is a real-life gap between concepts of the Christmas season. The gap stands between the seasonal expectations of people who hope for joy, connection, and fulfilling relationships in the atmosphere of fear, mistrust, and uncertainty. For those who fall outside of the bell curve of the normal expectations, Christmas functions as a time of year when the void between the experience of life and the meaning, ideas, and symbols of the season magnify the lack of personal peace felt as reminders of unmet expectations, missing people, and unfulfilled needs are missing from the Christmas season. This may cause the mind to question why this takes place at a time when people are consumed with the symbols of the signs of the season of peace and joy.

So Many Misappropriated Beliefs and Values

A central issue that contributes to disappointment and a lack of personal peace about things that occur around holidays like Christmas stems from faulty beliefs, values, and expectations about what is important in life and how to find meaning in the tragic world where we live.

A chronic problem in American culture is the belief that having more will make us happier and give peace and contentment. Truthfully, it is not what we receive during Christmas that satisfies the need a person has within to experience joy and find happiness. In contrast, it is giving from the heart that sources true blessing received in life. An effective axiom to illustrate this point says, “blessed are they that give, for in giving, they shall break down the barriers that prevent the ability to receive.” One of the evidences of a culture disconnected from the value of giving is the profound sense of entitlement that people possess in the 21st Century. Many individuals hold the belief that they are owed something from others and when they do not get it, they feel that somehow they are unappreciated and are suffering unjust conditions in life. Obviously, how we feel about problems that we experience is very real to us as individuals. However, peace does not come through expecting; it comes through how we respond to the personal needs of others and the practicing the grace of giving that will make the difference in how we experience life. At the heart of distorted, misplaced values is the heart of a hurting person who believes that “I don’t deserve this to happen to me …. And this just is not fair.” The truth is that life is never fair, but in the midst of an unfair life, world, and experience, there is life and the choice to give or take.

Course Correction and Redefined Values

What we need to do is to stop and realize that beyond our feelings of disappointment, i.e., that we should always receive the best outcome in life to experience joy there is a Savior who knows every pain that we feel in this life. Something to consider is that the times that produce the greatest faith are not when we are whole and everything is turning out right. It is when we are broken, feeling the weight of life, pressured by circumstances–tempting us beyond measure, times that we are able to value the wonder of life and what we have been privileged to have. As a result, it is at these divine intersections of life that we are able to experience the greatest potential for an expression of faith enabling the experience of peace.

The book of Romans says that because we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God. In the worst moment of Christ on the Cross, He surrendered all of life to God’s purpose in faith. Dying to self and living to God in a life of surrender is the greatest expression of faith, because when we have nothing else to give, we must trust God. Therefore, it is at that moment, we have found the way that lasting peace can be found in the act of surrender to God. What do you have to give to contribute to peace in the world today?

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