Christmas is a season of joyous celebration: Christ is born, Emmanuel, God is with us! Growing up, Christmas was for me the sweetest of holidays and my family celebrated it well. Traditions abound still from those childhood days.
But something changed the holidays forever for me on December 14th, 2001 when my dad died. Suddenly the best time of the year had a gaping wound, and later, a rugged scar. Yet our family continued on in joy knowing Christmas can’t be destroyed because the Overcomer lives forever.
Then in June of 2008, my brother and only sibling lost his life in a car accident. Of our family four, he perhaps loved Christmas the most. He couldn’t get enough. He waited impatiently for the first snow to fall, the first Christmas song to be played, the first decoration to be placed. His childlike wonder was a joy to watch.
Now my Christmases are lacking something, or rather a couple of important someones. I miss them. Oh, I still love Christmas! The sights, smells, and sounds of Christmas delight me. My holiday bear collection is overflowing, my village is lit, and our tree sparkles with twinkling lights, bright decorations, and flashing tinsel. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Most of all, I’m so very thankful for the Greatest Gift ever given, and stand in awe of what God has done for us –for me! My soul rejoices in God my Savior at Christmastime and always.
But the loss of my dear family remains. My breath catches and my heart aches when I hear certain songs, see certain ornaments, taste certain foods, watch certain movies. And I know I’m not alone here.
Divorce, death, loss of jobs, family contentions, unpaid bills, unruly kids, and more work to dull our vision of the babe in the manger. So what can we do? How do we once more catch a glimpse of the glory of the Christ child and allow Him to soothe the hurts and bind the brokenness?
Proverbs 18:10 has the answer: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.”
The name of the Lord signifies all that God is in and of Himself. His attributes, love, power, mercy, grace – all that God is can be found in His name, and He invites us to take refuge in it. So, dear sisters, when grief, sorrow, anxieties, restlessness, and frustration crowd in this Christmas, think on this name: Jehovah Shalom – the Lord of Peace (Judges 6:24). Consider your strong tower: The Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Rest in this thought: The Comforter is yours (John 14:16).
From beginning to end, in everything, the Father, Son, and Spirit are your repose, for God will keep her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Don’t walk, run. Run into the name above all other names! Root, ground, fix your mind and heart on the Savior, be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension will mount guard over your heart and mind in Christ Jesus, the babe in the manger (Phil 4:7).
When the darkness closes in, hold tight to His unchanging hand. When the fire burns hot, look full into His wonderful face. When the enemy’s breath is but a breath away, breathe His beautiful name: Jehovah. Jehovah Shalom, Prince of Peace, my Comforter. God of peace. Call on Him. He’ll meet you right where you are.
Hear His words to you: “Peace I leave with you, Loved One, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives. My peace is born of who I AM: Jehovah Shalom, Prince of Peace, Comforter. My peace brings serenity, wholeness, and health of soul. Do not let your heart be troubled! Do not be fearful! I have the power to hold the wildest fear in pause, to still a clamor, or hush a cry. This peace, I give to you. Come” (John 14:27, paraphrased*).
Ladies, this Christmas season, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13). May the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all (2 Thess 3:16), and Merry Christmas!
In His name and for His glory, Jodi Greene
*Paraphrase taken, in part, from Pulpit Commentary on John 14:27