I hope I am not the first person to tell you that this is not true. The pressure to be happy during this season is false and sometimes it can make your circumstances more painful. Perhaps this is your first Thanksgiving without a loved one that passed away. Maybe this will be your first Christmas without getting to see family that moved away.
There is a chance that you may not feel at all like celebrating this holiday season, and that is okay. It may be that, instead of looking to share joy with everyone, you’d just like a hint of peace. But how do you find peace when things seem so hard? Paul gives us a pretty clear explanation on how to begin the process here in his letter to the Colossians.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17 NIV)
We often think of peace as a passive act, or even the lack of an action at all. That makes it easy for us to read this passage and totally miss the power of peace that Paul is talking about. He says that the peace of Christ should rule our hearts. He doesn’t say that peace should camp out in our hearts or occasionally visit our souls, but it should take control of and command our every word and action.
Fortunately, he also gives insight on how to give way to peace so that it may stand a chance in our hearts that have a tendency to be selfish and full of worry. In order to allow the peace of Jesus Christ to rule our hearts, we must continually soak in His word and His spirit. Verse 16 says that we should let His word dwell in us richly, as we teach, spend time in discussion and fellowship, and sing songs of praise. If we truly put our hearts into these things, and do them solely for the glory of God, then our hearts will be open to the peace that comes with knowing that God is in control.
As soon as we allow the Lord to take the lead in every aspect of our lives, we will spend much more time giving thanks to Him and will spend much less time dwelling on our pain. Who ever thought that letting go of controlling your own life would be such a peaceful thing? The Apostle Paul did. Let’s follow his lead as we go throughout this holiday season.