"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
I was 18 years old, a sophomore in college, and spending my first Christmas away from my mom. It wasn't my schooling that kept me from my mom that year, but a new relationship...with my dad. I met him for the first time at my high school graduation, only six months prior . For 18 years it had been just mom and me. She never remarried, never dated. She had devoted her entire life to raising me, giving me every opportunity she possibility could, making sacrifices I still don't fully understand. That year she sacrificed our favorite holiday to allow a man she hadn't seen in almost 20 years, the chance to spend Christmas with his only child.
Thinking back, I only remember being excited to fly from my small Ohio town to LA. I was spending Christmas in Hollywood with my dad!!! In fact, excited is probably an understatement. I honestly don't remember much about that trip. I remember attending a Christmas party, having dinner with some of Dad's friends and going to see "Titanic" at the movies. However, God opened my eyes a few days ago to how my mom spent that Christmas-alone.
As a mom myself, I can't imagine not being able to spend this special time of year with my kids, regardless how old they get. I certainly can't image spending it totally alone because someone from my past has re-entered my life, opening old wounds. Yet, despite her pain and loneliness, she gave me that Christmas, with her blessing. She never complained. She never said a negative word. She helped me pack. She drove me to the airport. She listened as I went on and on about the day's adventure. Looking back, I'm sure her heart was breaking. I'm sure she cried herself to sleep and prayed more than usual for those two weeks. What I do remember is how peaceful she handled the situation. What an amazing example of God's great peace that passes all understanding! Her actions and attitude went against everything in our human nature. She put the needs of her daughter and a father above her own. She didn't do what was fair. She didn't act on emotions. She didn't allow years of pain to dictate her decisions. She had a choice. She chose to keep the peace.
This Christmas, you may find yourself spending time with family members who have caused you pain. Perhaps you are more stressed about the amount of tension at the dinner table than about the general busyness of the season. This year I challenge you to make a choice. I challenge you to let the Prince of Peace shine through you this Christmas. It probably won't be easy (or it wouldn't be called a challenge). It may stretch you into an uncomfortable place outside your box. It's ok! That's when you rely on the One who holds the world in His mighty hands, to provide you with strength, grace and peace. It's up to you. It's your choice. Will you choose to keep the peace in your family this Christmas?
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Romans 12:18