Monday, December 5, 2011
At this time of year when we celebrate the life of the Prince of Peace, it is easy to lose our peace of mind when we are bombarded by advertisements, materialism, and unrealistic expectations. A few simple tips can make the Holidays happier and less stressful:
Serve someone. As we reach out to those in need, we experience the peace and good will. Service can be as simple as an anonymous gift, a thank you card, or a cheerful phone call. Whenever we bless the life of another, we allow God’s love to radiate through us to one of His precious children, and that love fills our hearts with peace.
Share a smile. We when smile to family, friends, and strangers, we discover that we feel more peaceful. As you smile, you can say a silent prayer, asking God to bless those you encounter with His love and protection.
Savor your blessings. As we reflect upon the countless gifts we enjoy, we realize that we have enough. We do not need presents, material possessions, or stuff to define or validate us. God’s love gives us the greatest gift of all: peace beyond anything that we can understand.
Seek God. God promises us that when we seek Him, we will find Him, and finding Him creates peace in our lives. How do we seek God? By becoming acquainted with Him through prayer and Scripture study, by trying to live as He lived and serve as He served, by thinking about Him, loving Him, and remembering Him. You are His children created in His image. As we seek Him, He teaches us that He loves us with an infinite love, and that is the path to peace.
Search out someone who needs your love. So many people need your one-of-a –kind love. It may be a widow down the street, your next-door neighbor, a coworker, or friend. It may be someone who seems difficult to love. Ask God to show you whom He wants you to love and how to love them. He will help you know what you can do to lift another, and as you do that, you will find that you are lifted as well.
Show kindness. Kind words and deeds are manifestations of God’s love. They bind up broken hearts, ease troubled minds, and heal wounded souls. When we speak with kindness, we do not criticize, condemn, or judge others. Instead, we celebrate the strengths and gifts that we see in one another, including ourselves. We share words of encouragement, gratitude, and compassion with others, and we also do the same for ourselves.
Simplify. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we remember He lived a simple life. As we focus on those things that matter most—relationships, love, and spirituality—we discover that Christmas does not come from a store. It is found within the recesses of loving hearts everywhere.
Surrender to a Higher Power. When I was nineteen, my father died, and I was left alone to navigate the challenges of life. I was an only child, and my mother was very ill and poor. I had no one I could turn to for solace and guidance—no one, that is, but God. I surrendered my financial, academic, and health challenges to Him. I gave my life to Him and discovered that as I did, He gave me His wisdom, comfort, and perfect love. My life has never been the same.
As we give our hearts to God, He gives us hearts filled with peace and comfort. When life is difficult, He strengthens us. When our hearts are broken, He waits to heal them. When our burdens seem too heavy to bear, He waits to carry them. All we have to do is ask in faith, trusting that He will answer our prayers in the manner and season that is right for us.
May you be enfolded in the arms of God’s love during the Holiday season and throughout the coming year, and may you radiate that love to others.
© Carol Brown