I'm Dreaming of a Peaceful Christmas

Rob’s Blog - by Rob Hadfield

I'm Dreaming of a Peaceful Christmas

We launched our Christmas series this morning and it was great to gather together and dream of the kind of Christmas we long for but sometimes don’t see. We’re celebrating Christmas in an imperfect world where tensions, loneliness, extravagance and greed often make a wonderful Christmas seem like little more than a dream. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” was an immediate hit at a time when the world was at war and the beauty of a traditional white Christmas and all it symbolised seemed like a fantasy. Yet, many found, in this song, a source of hope and peace of mind in the midst of conflict and tension. However, the good news of the birth of Jesus is our ultimate source of hope and peace in a world that is constantly filled with tension because God is with us in life’s battles.

The presence of God is our peace amidst the conflicts we face.

Who are you likely to fight with this Christmas? What family feuds are looming large in your mind? What strained relationships will be put to the test as you work overtime with other members of staff this Christmas? What scandal do you find yourself in the midst of? What fears are you facing? Sometimes things can get very tense at a time of year traditionally associated with peace and goodwill. Maybe you’re dreading a tense Christmas but dreaming of one where, somehow, peace could prevail. If you find yourself in this situation, you’re in good company.

One of Jesus disciples by the name of Matthew recorded the events that surrounded his birth and it’s clear from his writing that Mary and Joseph found themselves in a very tense situation that first Christmas. Mary was an unmarried pregnant girl whose husband-to-be wasn’t the child’s father in a culture where a woman could be stoned for bringing shame to her family and future husband. The claim that she was a virgin was inconceivable and even Joseph, who loved her dearly, was figuring out a way to separate from her without causing her further shame.

Yet God was in the very middle of this situation, speaking to Joseph on behalf of Mary and assuring him that there was a plan to bring true peace in the midst of all this pain. God stepped into the fray, stood with the falsely accused, worked in the life of an outcast and turned her into a hero of faith. God was at work in the midst of inter-personal family tensions that caused a scandal in a community already angry about the military occupation of their land by a foreign force they could not defeat. In a place and time where real peace seemed like a fools dream, God spoke to Joseph in a dream and revealed that true peace was at hand because of Jesus.

The presence of God is our peace amidst the conflicts we face.

We live in the real world in proximity with others, some of whom we do not get on well with. We must learn to find the presence and peace of God in a world in which conflict is normal. We must also find ways to become people of peace on our frontlines, living according to the reality of the presence of God even in the middle of the most tense of situations. Maybe you could take a next step of faith in response to the presence of God and the peace he brings.

  • Explore: If you are facing a tense Christmas, let the prayer team pray for you to sense God’s presence and leading through it.
  • Connect: If you know of someone whose life is full of interpersonal conflict at the moment, reach out to them in friendship this week.
  • Partner: Partner in prayer with the chaplains in our armed forces whose job it is to help military personnel sense the presence of God this Christmas, whether in conflict zones or separated from family due to deployments in response to international tensions.
  • Lead: If you are in the midst of an interpersonal conflict that still needs resolution, led by example by taking steps towards reconciliation. If you need help, get help, seek counselling or mediation because Christians are called to be ambassadors of peace. Take the Next Step towards de-escalating the tensions.

Questions for reflection and small group discussion:

  • What kind of Christmas are you dreaming of?
  • What challenges or obstacles might in you face in your quest for a peaceful Christmas?
  • Who do you know that needs some peace this Christmas and who you could reach out to in friendship and perhaps invite to join us at our Christmas events for more support and inspiration?
  • How might you be an ambassador of God’s peace in your everyday life this December?


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