By Hilary Scheppers
This year, there have been challenges; however, there have also been benefits during this unprecedented time. One being family as the focal point of this Christmas season. I find such beauty in that. This year, we have slowed down, seen less commercialism of Christmas, and been given the opportunity to understand better why we all gather in Jesus’ name.
I once heard someone say, “peace begins with the family.” If we want peace on Earth, peace must begin where our world begins — and that starts with our family — whoever they may be. But whose family is really all that peaceful?
I grew up as one of six kids, which meant there was no shortage of chaos, confusion, yelling, and messes at any point in time. I would often sneak away to the corners of the house with a book hoping no one would come after me. They always did.
Of course, I was irritated, but as I am now reflecting, I think this is the beauty of family. They are always calling out after you, drawing you to come back, come close, no matter what the issue or argument. We belong to each other. We crave coming back to peace.
This Christmas, I think it’s important for us to recognize Jesus, incarnate, is miraculous, which reminds us that miracles do happen. Our God is a God of miracles. So this Christmas, I’m praying for a special kind of peace to come into families — a peace that draws everyone nearer to the truth of Jesus and his love for humanity. A peace that brings families together despite physical distance.
This year, we have seen the necessity of drawing close to Jesus to experience His peace through sickness and loss, continually holding onto hope. As we have wept, so has He wept with us. In John 15, Christ proclaims that “without me, you can do nothing.” So how will you celebrate Christmas if you don’t do it with Him at the center?
In this third week of Advent, how are you preparing your home for the coming of Christ? Maybe you are making special items to give away or clearing out particular rooms to make space for celebrating. Are you setting the table for Jesus, that he may stay at your house all week long and through the rest of the days of Christmas?
Jesus is on His way! He has calmed the activities, the driving through the snow to sporting events, bars, and restaurants so that we can come to know His peace. We have the opportunity to turn inward and prepare our hearts and homes.
We pray that Jesus may open up the hearts of our family members so they may come to know His peace. We pray that no matter where our family members are in their faith journey, they may heed today’s Gospel and take no offense to Jesus and His name. The One who comes humbly into the world to die for us, “And blessed is he who takes no offense at me.”
Jesus is our miracle. Believe in miracles this Christmas because your faith asks you to do just that.
What is the Christmas miracle you need? Ask. And keep asking. Be persistent in prayer.