Please welcome my sweet friend and sister of faith, Celeste Maldonado Barnard, to Peacefully Imperfect. Celeste’s message is real and it is relevant. She reminds us that it is easy to have peace when everything is going well and you aren’t feeling overwhelmed. But to carry a peace in the midst of the hustle–that can only come from God.
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” –Dr. Suess, How the Grinch Stole Christmas
I could feel it starting. The season of shopping and crowds and parties and crowded stores and more traffic was upon me. I woke up after Thanksgiving break and felt anxious as I wrote out my to-do list. It was a mixture of emotions really. All day prior I had allowed myself to soak in the Christmas season as I played Christmas music throughout the day, took down all of my fall décor and began to add splashes of red and green throughout the house. My daughter and her friend helped me to make a delicious berry dump cake and we savored our last day of our break. (Okay, our internet did go down for a few hours and my boys kind of freaked out, but other than that, it was delightful). But Monday morning had my thoughts all in a frenzy. Christmas lists scrolling through my brain, gifts still needed, parties still to confirm, and I thought about how I have something scheduled (already) every night until next Sunday (which equals almost a week of not being home very much in the evenings with my kids). And then I felt the Lord tugging at my heart. I realized I had almost allowed my to-do’s to take precedence over my time with the Lord.
And I know. I know better.
I know that there will never be enough time in the day to do everything on that list. There will never be a final destination where I just sit and have complete peace ‘once everything is done’. And If I start my season off in this hurried pace, I will quickly lose steam, crash, and burn. And even worse…. I will miss it.
I don’t want to miss it.
I don’t want to just get through each day. I want to truly enjoy this Christmas season. I so desire to feel God’s peace regardless of my circumstances. I want to be all in- present and accounted for! I want to savor these memories- even in the hustle and the busy- because let’s be real, there are just things we need to do. I believe we can have peace even in the midst of busy. It’s easy to have peace when everything is going well and you aren’t feeling overwhelmed. But to carry a peace in the midst of the hustle- that can only come from God. You can’t order it or will it to happen or pretend to have peace until you do- it can only happen if you spend time with Him. No shortcuts.
First things first. Waking up, lighting that candle, brewing that coffee, putting the phone in a drawer to avoid distractions, and sitting in that favorite chair and picking a book in the bible you want to go through this month (and perhaps a little journaling too). And each morning He will meet you there. He will. And you will notice throughout the day. His fragrance lingers. His peace carries with you as you bake, as you plan and prepare, and even…. wait for it…. as you enter crowded spaces.
I don’t want to wake up January 1st wishing I had put first things first in December, waking up parched; dry and thirsty. I want that continual inner peace that only Jesus can bring.
He is our Prince of peace, meaning He is the ruler of peace, no need to search elsewhere.
Isaiah 9:6- For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
One of my favorite Christmas cartoons is ‘The Grinch Who Stole Christmas’. In this movie, the Grinch stole the Whos stuff on Christmas Eve and essentially tried to steal their peace. He thought if he could just take all their stuff away, all their gourmet food, all of their decorations, and all of their gifts, then they’d be so sad (thinking circumstances determined their peace). But what the Grinch didn’t realize was that there was something deeper on the inside of them that nothing and no one could ever take away. They still had love in their hearts and they had each other. And the enemy would love to steal our peace this Christmas season, but we know that our outside circumstances don’t have to determine our inner peace.
This Christmas season, keep first things first and choose peace. Don’t let people’s expectations steal your peace, lack of finances, others lack of peace, a busy calendar, or anything else that might tell you that you should be stressing out. Just like it says in Matthew 6:33, seek first His kingdom and righteousness, and I promise you, peace will follow.
This truly is the best Christmas gift, one I hope we all unwrap each day! John 14:27 (NLT)- “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.”
I leave with one of my favorite songs that I’ve had on repeat for weeks, Peace Be Still by Laura Daigle-
Celeste Barnard is a writer and a speaker who is passionate about helping women live brave. She and her husband have a non-profit ministry in South Texas called Big Red Ministries. They have 3 teenagers and live on a Ranch with a lot of animals! To learn more about Celeste or their ministry, check out her website at celestebarnard.com