The days that had just passed were a blur to me. So much had happened in such a short time. None of what happened was expected. None of what happened was easy. It was scary. It was painful. Yet it was also a moment and memory that reminds me of the presence and power of God. I had had a surgery that went wrong and all of a sudden led to another major surgery on Christmas Eve. No one knew what was happening except the doctor and we were faced with decisions that had to be made quickly and without much time to think, yet with more thought than we had energy for in those moments. I came out of that surgery and begged to be home for Christmas. My boys, age 9 and 12 at the time, were missing their mother and father and although they were with family, I didn’t want them to experience a Christmas without us and replaced with worrying. I was released from hospital in time to get home for almost midnight Christmas Eve.

That Christmas morning is one that I will never forget. It meant more to me than any other I have experienced. There was not much that I could do, but I could sit and have what felt like an out of body experience, as I watched my boys not go crazy over presents but just cuddle with me and stay close under my blanket. It was a treasured family huddle. We read the Christmas story and listened to music and prayed. We had so much to be thankful for. Even as I type, the tears flow as I feel again how real and close Jesus was in those moments. As we prepared for the day, I was going to muster as much strength as I could do be present at our family gathering in the evening. The nurse came and changed bandages, checked tubes and administered meds. I could now move forward into what was supposed to be a most wonderful time, and put my reality behind me for a few hours. Christmas was going to be as normal as possible.

Sometimes in the rush, we forget that there is a peace extended to us in this season. The Prince of Peace has come to us.

When we arrived at my sister’s home, my position was the couch. The room was dark and the carol “Silent Night” played. It was there that God met me in a real way. While everyone hustled and bustled and carried on in the usual manner, I sat and experienced a peace like never before. I was present with Jesus and present with my family. It truly was a Silent Night with all calm and bright. The calm came from a peace in my heart that Jesus brought to me in the miracle He performed by allowing me to be present. All was as it should be around me- food, laughter, children playing, decorations, music and Jesus. I forgot my pain and discomfort as I was able to just rest knowing that in the midst of hard and crazy, unexpected and uncomfortable, I rested in the strong arms of baby Jesus and the soft touches of my boys as they cared for me. Jesus was still at work and still the reason for the season.

As the busyness of this season seems to get busier and the excitement rises as we approach Christmas day, I have learned to that what I really want is that peace. I don’t want to forget that feeling, that truth, that reality. I am well now, but the lesson learned in that hard yet beautiful Christmas and one of my favourites, is one I want to take with me into all that follow.

Sometimes in the rush, we forget that there is a peace extended to us in this season. The Prince of Peace has come to us. Peace is not about what we do, or about what happens to us or doesn’t happen to us. Peace is about WHO we allow to meet us right where we are. It is about letting Jesus have access to every moment so that He can reveal He is with us in every moment. Peace is stopping to sit in the room with the Christmas tree and enjoying the beauty of the lights as I reflect on the light of the world, allowing him to continue lighting my way in the darkness of world issues and personal challenges. Peace is listening to the Carols play and reliving the Christmas story. It is real. It is a miracle. It is our story because Christ came for us. Peace is God’s comfort and joy being made real in our story no matter what is happening around us. Peace is the presence of Jesus. Peace on earth and goodwill toward us are not just words in a song but the reality of the gift of Jesus given to us- not just for Christmas but for a lifetime. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.” Luke 2:14

As God is given the glory, we are given His peace.

I don’t know what “hard” is present in your season, but I do know that Jesus is with you. I encourage you to let baby Jesus show you his strength and power that is his present for you. May you let his arms hug you. May His presence be your greatest gift. It was for Mary in her hard situation. She held on to the peace that was deposited into her. Hold on to it just as Mary did. Don’t let it go. He has come for such a time as this and His peace is always available because He is always available. Peace came and will never leave us.

“For to us a child is born, a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9:6