Before anyone says anything, I know that today’s choice is officially a Christmas song rather than a Christmas carol, but I have a special reason for selecting it. Today is our 6th anniversary, and we chose this song for our wedding. Step aside Wham, Mariah and Steeleye Span (google it kids), The Joystrings classic, “A Starry Night” is Lyndon’s favourite Christmas song!
Anniversaries often lead us to reflect on the year that has gone by and the good, and not so good, times that we have experienced. This seems to be emphasised in our family, as our anniversary lands just before Christmas and both children celebrate their birthdays early in the new year. It’s a time of reflection and new beginnings.
During the past year, a small group has been meeting in York each week to read and discuss the soulwithaview blogs. In order to prepare questions for them, I’ve spent time rereading the words I have written throughout 2017. I spotted this from “The Bow” posted on the 17th of June.
The world seems just a little more broken than normal at the moment, and I don't know what on earth is going on. I would ask you to resist the temptation to throw Bible verses at me (or others who feel like I do) as I’m not convinced that lack of faith or a lack of biblical understanding is the issue. This can’t be neatly tied up in a bow and I don’t think God wants it to be.
These words were written at a time when the news was filled with stories of grieving families and lives torn apart by terrorism. Just a couple of days after "The Bow" was posted, Muslim worshippers were attacked as they left the Finsbury Mosque.
More hate. More unrest.
During the summer, I remember challenging conversations with my son as we struggled to understand how such hate could exist and how people could do this to each other.
Since those summer months, there have many more moments where the world has felt uncertain, shaky…broken.
Freedom from disturbance; tranquility.
A state or period where there is no war or the war has ended.
It’s difficult to imagine a world where we are free from disturbance.
It’s difficult to visualise workplaces, schools or even churches where peace reigns and warring factions seek reconciliation.
It’s difficult to picture families and relationships where conflict is resolved and people actively seek to live together peacefully.
Soon the shepherd’s came that way
where the baby lay,
and were kneeling, kneeling by his side,
And their hearts believed again for the peace of men,
For a boy was born, King of all the world.
Is your heart willing to believe again that peace is possible?
Choosing to “keep the peace” can often be seen as a weakness as if we’re selling out or avoiding what needs to be addressed, but scripture is clear about our responsibility to be peacekeepers.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
For me, it’s about choosing peace in our marriages, families, friendships, workplaces, churches and even with those we might consider to be our enemies. If I'm not careful, then I fall into the trap of justifying my frustrated or angry responses to situations where I feel I have been wronged. In these times, God repeatedly points out that there is a different way. He reminds me that, if I will just trust Him, I will be able to experience the peace that I desperately long for in the circumstances that I find the most difficult.
I may struggle at times to believe in the “peace of men” but today I am reminded that the peace of Kay Moorby is a gift available to me every day. I just need to untie the bow, peel away the wrapping and receive the gift.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”