The Path to Peace

By: Marty Fanning
We all have been told that it is the most wonderful time of the year, but is it? More importantly, does God desire this time to be wonderful, full of peace? I truly believe so. Here's why.

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of holiday stress? I don’t know about you but it seems as if I can easily find my mind drifting into chaotic, stressful thinking during the holidays. How can I find the perfect gift for this person? What will this person think if I don’t get them a gift?

I don’t know if you can relate to these examples but I think we all can find ourselves in a place of holiday stress at some point. We all have been told that it is the most wonderful time of the year, but is it? More importantly, does God desire this time to be wonderful, full of peace? I truly believe so. Why? At the birth of Christ the multitude of angels declared:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” —Luke 2:14

It’s true! Heaven’s worship team has a gift to offer you and your family in this season: Peace. The question is, how? How can we find a path of peace within the stress and chaos of the holiday season?

The path of peace begins with one thing.

First, I’d like to contrast the story of two sisters who invited Jesus over for dinner. In Luke 10:38–42, we read the account of how Mary and Martha related to Jesus as they both desired to celebrate Him. Martha, in desiring to put together her very best dinner for the Lord, ended up getting totally stressed out by the whole event. Why? Martha got so busy serving and focusing on her “to do’s” that she ended up more stressed than blessed. Martha fell victim to what the Bible declares to be the fear of man. Proverbs 29:25 states, “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.” Martha went so far as to ask the celebrated dinner guest, Jesus, to ask Mary to “help me.” Ouch.

Can you relate? Sadly, this can be the story of our Christmas if we get too caught up in the chaos and stress of our own performance, perfection, or unhealthy expectations.
We all have been told that it is the most wonderful time of the year, but is it?
Jesus told Martha, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.” Have you been here? I know I have. In my attempt to please everyone, I can become a busy body like Martha. In this situation I have forgot one thing. As we can see in this story, Jesus is always faithful to expose the area of greatest need. The paradox is that Martha was missing out on the thrill and sheer joy that the prince of peace was sitting at her table!

If only Martha were reminded of the fact that the table was already perfect, for the great “Immanuel” “God with Martha,” was sitting at her table. Jesus’ reply to Martha spoke right to her greatest need. “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that.” What is it that Mary chose? Mary chose to sit at Jesus feet and hear His Word.

These Words from Christ speak directly to our greatest need in this holiday season. If we truly desire to celebrate Jesus we must be intentional to sit at His feet and hear His Word. The path to peace begins with this one thing. But how?

Here are some practical ways you can be intentional to sit a His feet this holiday season.
  1. Prioritize your relationship with Jesus.

    No matter what life throws at you this holiday season know that your personal relationship with Jesus is your perfect portion of peace. Find a place and a time each day to reflect and meditate on Jesus and His Word. Make it special and keep it simple!

  2. Surround yourself with visual reminders.

    I’ve had the joy of being a Middle School Bible teacher for 13 years. In my experience, repetition and a good illustration go a long way in bringing a deeper understanding. In the month of December we have been taking our Middle School Students at CCA as series called, “Advent” which means “coming” or arrival.

    As we have been taking time to walk our students through the four weeks of a traditional advent using candles to symbolize the coming of the light of the world we have had our students ask a ton of great questions! One student asked me, “Mr. Fanning why are the Advent candles purple when everything else is green.”

  3. Remember those who are forgotten.

    This holiday season you can’t literally invite Jesus to dinner like Mary and Martha. But there is something that you can do for His birthday, love on the lost, the least and last. Serve at a homeless shelter, visit a nursing home to sing Christmas songs, save up to buy a sheep for a village in desperate need. You may just find that that is where Christ is!

Marty Fanning has served as a Middle School Bible Teacher and Discipleship leader at Calvary Christian Academy for 16 years. Marty and his wife, Christina Fanning, both have a passion for teaching God’s Word to the next generation.
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