Our family recently began going back to the church my husband and I went to years ago now that we have moved back to that area. We always had an affinity for this church for many reasons, but one of our favorites was the music. We sing the old hymns straight from the hymnal, the way we were both raised, and it just feels like home. I love the old hymns. I enjoy much of the newer Christian music as well, but there is nothing quite like the old hymns. That being said, this Sunday we finished church with the song, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” and when it began I was questioning why it was even in a hymnal. Just above it were the words from Micah, “He will be our peace.” Yet the first couple of verses came to our lips and the thought of Christ in them was missing. Again, I wondered why we were singing this, especially when the entire rest of the service honored, praised and defended Christ so beautifully. Then we came to these verses and not only did the choice make sense, but it spoke to my heart and this looming feeling we’ve had as the holiday that is meant to be filled with cheer approaches.
I don’t know what it is lately… the busyness, crammed schedules, to-do lists, travel plans, colder weather… but rather than looking forward to Christmas, I’ve found myself subconsciously looking beyond Christmas to spring and hopefully a getaway. A break. Some peace.
I kind of feel awful about that. We have a soon-to-be four year old and this is the most magical time of the year and I’m secretly wishing it was over.
Before I go sounding too ungrateful, I’m not fully committed to that feeling. We’ve been doing many “Christmassy” things that have been great fun and thoroughly enjoyable. I just also don’t want to ignore that annoying little itch in the background of all of this; a part of me that just wants to scream out sometimes, “O Come, Emmanuel… now please!”
Enter verse 3:
‘And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”‘
I so badly want to find an escape for this lack of peace I’m feeling, to escape the rushed, packed moments of the seasons and find respite. As we began verse four, I sensed I was not alone in this feeling as everyone’s voices swelled and our unified chorus felt more like the lifting of an offering than a song.
‘Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”‘
He Will Be Our Peace
God is not dead, nor does He sleep,
He spoke to me and it made me weep.
“Dear Child, Why do you worry and despair?
Filling your schedule, gasping for air?
Wondering why this season feels so pressing,
When it is supposed to be a time of joy and of blessing!”
I found myself searching for a way out or an escape,
But it wasn’t till looking up that Peace took shape.
I want to rush through the holiday season
Only because I’m not taking time to focus on the Reason.
My hope, my peace, and forever nothing less,
Is only Jesus’ blood and His unending righteousness.
It is why He came and the only place peace is found,
Not in food or plans or presents that abound.
It’s in a cradle, so humble, so meek,
Where a tiny Baby was born and in a manger did sleep.
Not to condemn or to punish us for our sinful past,
But to bring us His grace that forever will last.
So if you too are feeling worn this season,
Slow down and look up for Peace and our Reason
To feel refreshed and joyful and merry
Turn to Jesus alone and your burdens He’ll carry.
For there is no other place where Christmas peace is found,
Than back at the manger where a Child King was crowned.
If you are searching for an end to this season, take a break and get into God’s Word. Find His respite, He knows how you are feeling and will guide you to the encouragement you need. In Micah we were foretold of how this Child King would become our Ruler out of Bethlehem. That Ruler is no less with us this very moment and all He wants for Christmas is us. <3
“And He will arise and shepherd His flock In the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace.” Micah 5:4-5
Merry Christmas. May God and God alone, forever be your peace.