For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The Christmas check list seems unending. From decorating the house, shopping and wrapping presents, making cookies, parties and Christmas cards—there always seems to be one more thing to do. If you had known me in my full “go Christmas” mode, it would have just made you tired.
And then life feel apart. Divorce hit and it happened near Christmas. I wanted to ignore the whole season and pretty much did. Long time friends knew that something must be up because they didn’t receive my Christmas card the first week of December. All the joy was drained out and I was left with little hope that Christmas would ever be special again.
I knew that Jesus was with me and He even met me very personally during an especially difficult time. But Christmas…
The traditions had to change and I’m not particularly fond of change. But each year was a little bit better—not great but tolerable. My kids made sure that we kept many of the old traditions and then added new ones. But there was always a little hole in my heart.
Until the big news — I was going to be a grandmother and the baby was due the day after Christmas. Joy, anticipation, and excitement filled my heart.
A good friend said to me one day in early December as I waited for the birth of that baby, “Isn’t it just like God to give you a grandchild now so you can celebrate the birth of two babies at Christmas?”
That was certainly the missing piece for this holiday but it reminded me that the real missing piece was allowing Jesus to fill me with hope and joy every day. He knew what the road ahead looked like and promised to never leave me or let go of my hand.
A funny situation occurred this week when I stopped to get a latte at a new local cafe. It was filled with decorations for purchase and as I perused the shelves, I noticed a tiny nativity set with miniature pieces. I have collected nativity sets all over the word and thought this would be a perfect addition.
When I got home and unwrapped the pieces and placed them in the miniature stable, all were present but one.
I called the manager and told him the story.
“Mmmm, the baby Jesus. Let me check,” he said.
“I found him. He’d been moved to another shelf.”
I picked up my missing piece and the tableau is now complete.
But are you missing something this Christmas? Are you feeling like you’ve been moved to another shelf? Has grief left you wrung out? An injury sidelined you for all the festivities? Depression’s pit just around the corner? No paycheck to cover the gifts you want to give your kids?
Remember that the missing piece is Jesus. Happiness and joy are two different emotions. Jesus will give you joy even in the darkness because of the flicker of light that was lit on Christmas morn.
That missing piece?
He’s now your Prince of Peace.