I think of that later, how his hands look like they are worn with peace, the way he’s won a good life by forging peace no matter the heat of things.
His hand had reached for mine in the woods.
When the world grows warring loud, a walk in the woods calls the weary away.
Maybe all we all want for Christmas is some heart-lifting peace.
Snow falls like manna through cedars. The woods looks like Narnia and yes, it’s winter, but not always winter only: Christmas is coming. The second week of Advent settles in. The Peace candle’s been lit.
Because, yeah, sure, peace on earth can be sung on the street corners right now, but most of us would be mighty happy with even a blink or two of peace just on the internet?
Or maybe just some peace in the kitchen with those well-meaning human beings who are actually tied and knotted forever to us by blood lines or covenant promises but are kinda struggling to navigate their way through a tilted and spinning world without side-swiping an innocent bystander or two.
Holidays can feel more like warring days.
They say that: Peace is trusting that God won’t let things fall to pieces. The opposite of peacefulness is anxiousness. And the word in Greek for anxiety is merimna —- which means pieces.
Anxiety is a function of divided attention. When we divide our attention, we make ourselves anxious.
Our lives fall to pieces when we give anxiety the power to shatter our peace.
Inner peacefulness requires single-mindedness.
Centre on Christ.
Peace isn’t matter of circumstances — it is a matter of focus. Singleminded centering on Christ gives a singular peace.
When we make space in the PACE of things — we find PEACE. They say that.
Make SPACE in your Pace to find PEACE.
I say that to myself, again and again, crunching through the hushed snow.
They say that too: The way to weather life every day is to get out into the weather every day. A half hour walk in nature can change the nature of all the other hours. Apparently doctors and the Healer Himself prescribe creation to recreate broken places.
We walk in the woods for hours. We’re a broken, limping people, and there is light in the trees.
Peace can be a startlingly ugly thing.
Peace is biting your tongue hard, because when you have to choose between winning and being kind, you choose kind. Because kind is always winning.
Peace is made when you give people a piece of your heart instead of a piece of your mind.
We are all the walking blind if we live an eye for an eye. These could be the holidays that are holy days because we do it a different way.
Peacemaking is about making yourself into a screen door whenever someone difficult walks through your door — so no harmful words can slam into your heart, but everything hurtful sails right on through.“Keeping the peace doesn’t mean you keep quiet, it means you quietly tell the truth with a grace that brings peace.”
Keeping the peace means you keep good boundaries.
And keeping the peace doesn’t mean repressing your needs but pressing into the need to be like Him.
This flips the entire peace paradigm and process:
Peace isn’t a place, Peace is a Person. Peace is not a Place you escape to out of your every day life, but a Person you walk with every day.
And that person is Christ and the Christ-life always looks cruciform.
The Peace Makers are always the ones who make their lives look cruciform — cross-shaped.
Peace Makers know it: The only way to reach the life you want, you have to keep reaching out. That the answer to a whole host of problems in us, is to keep reaching out.
The cruciform life is as profound as living a life that’s about keep reaching out.
The best way forward is never outrage but outreach.
Peace only happens where we wage peace: love bomb when it’s least expected, shock and awe with amazing grace, intentionally strategize with acts of kindness. The world changes when we aren’t just peace keepers but peace makers.
Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone — means you can’t do it all but you can do all that you can do.
Finding some peace is more than closing the bathroom door and drawing a bubble bath or jetting off to some beachside resort for a week of sun therapy. Finding some peace is about living a life you don’t need to run from, but living a life you want to run into.
If you find yourself having to regularly run away from your life to get some peace — it’s because you are disconnected from the actual Person of Peace who meets our embattled places with peace, and shows us the way to embody peace in all of our battles.
Finding some peace means you stop being the victim in your life and let the hard and holy ways of Christ give you victory over the hard things in your own life.
Peace means making a life that doesn’t look good on Instagram but looks good before God. Real peace is about giving up a life that merely looks good — for a life that actually is good.
You win real peace when give up winning every battle — so you win the war that matters.
Peace often means —
There is no peace unless you give up pieces of yourself to gain more of the life you really want. Exhale and let go.
Peace is not the absence of problems, but the presence of God.
Every step through the snow, I think of those ten steps toward the shalom life:
Label less, Love more
Pace less, Pray more
Worry less, Worship more
Consume less, Create more
Complain less, Care more
Grip less, Give more
Snap less, Smile more
Harp less, Hear more
Rebuff less, Reach more
Fear never, Forward always.
Every step forward through the woods, all this stays close and we stay close to the water, to the stream’s moving waters, making a way through the snow. The best way forward is never outrage but outreach.
It’s strange how that is: Everyone wants world peace, but who does what’s needed for peace in their own world? Under their own roof? In their own heart?
Exhale. Reach out.
The snow falls soundlessly in the woods like it’s falling on listening ears.
All through the woods, snow falls like it’s making a new world, and peace like a river makes the only way for the soul that is well with the soul.
Come let Jesus touch your wounds & heal your hurt with His Peace.
This Advent, Stay in the Story that the rest of your year, your family, will need.
3 Award-Winning books for the Whole Family
- The Greatest Gift (adult edition): Christian Retailing’s Best award, 2014
- Unwrapping the Greatest Gift (Family Edition): Best Inspirational Book of the Year, CBA, 2016
- The Wonder of the Greatest Gift: Best Devotional & Gift Book of the Year, CBA, 2019, (pop-up edition with your own 14 inch tree, 25 days of readings, 25 day advent flap calendar, hiding all 25 Biblically inspired ornaments! For any age)
Peace leads us — and we have ourselves The Greatest little Christmas yet!