TOL’s 12 Gifts of Christmas!
Gifts 7 and 8 are up for grabs today! To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment on this guest post. (To leave a comment without playing, just add, “No gifts, please!”) I’ll announce the recipients tomorrow evening.
Regular Gift: You choose the topic of a post I write.
White Elephant Gift: I virtually haunt you on Twitter for a day with a feigned strong emotion of my choosing (e.g. indignation, adoration, etc.).
Today’s guest post comes from Chad Jones. Chad is currently taking a break from blogging at Randomly Chad, but he’s sharing this lovely piece here for us to meditate on amid the busy Christmas season. –Tamara
What is Peace?
For the Christian, the season of Advent is a time to reflect on the
coming of Christ into a contentious world. His advent–his coming–was
heralded by angels with the proclamation, “Peace on earth, goodwill
toward men.” Yet in the two thousand years since the savior’s birth we
have seen precious little of either.
Peace or goodwill. Nowhere is this, as an American Evangelical, more
evident to me than at the Advent season. What is supposed to be a
season of quiet reflection is full of nothing quite so much as hustle
and bustle. Yes, I’m well-aware that Christ was not actually born on
December twenty-fifth– that it was more likely during the season when
the “shepherds watched their flocks by night,” which by my reckoning
would during the birthing season (likely spring). I have yet to see an
Advent calendar made for Spring. The point is, though Christmas as we
know it has its origins as a pagan celebration– Jesus’s birth being
grafted on– it is the tradition we have.
As such, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, and/or the Equinox mean nothing
to me; Christmas is just that: “Christ’s Mass.” That we celebrate it
by the giving of presents is not in itself a bad thing. Think of it as
a pale imitation of the greatest gift that was ever given: Jesus
himself, a babe born in a manger.
What concerns me is not so much that gifts are given– for the most
godlike kind of love is gift-love– but how the gifts are themselves
acquired. I am not immune to the desire to find the best “deals.” Yet,
in so doing, I find I am a part of the problem. I am contributing to
the hustle and bustle and am far from quiet in my soul.
Nowhere is this more evident than in my children; for, despite my
words– my professed values– they see my behavior, and follow suit. I
hear all about what they want and precious little about what they
want to give. This is undoubtedly due to my influence. I say this to
Yes, there are larger cultural forces at play, but it is up to me, and
my wife, to cut through the clutter and get to the heart of the
You see, Miriam-Webster defines peace as: “a state of tranquillity
or quiet.” This could also apply to the eye of a hurricane. A place of
relative quiet inside a larger storm. Thus, I conclude peace is
something that, despite external influences, I can have, can attain.
Can cultivate within myself and my family.
This begins by realizing that peace is more than the just absence, the
cessation, of conflict– it is also the presence of something.
What is peace?
For the Christian, it is the presence of Christ. And that is what we
celebrate at Advent: his presence in our lives. “Immanuel, God with
How do you cultivate peace in your life now and indeed throughout the year?
Chad is a Christ-follower, husband to his awesome wife, Lisa, and dad to two great kids. He lives with his family in the Arizona desert. The jury is still out on the effect the sun has had on his brain. When he’s not on hiatus, he blogs five days a week at Randomly Chad, and you can always follow him on Twitter at @randomlychad.