Peace During The Holidays

Part of this post I wrote last year, but sitting here now it seems to me that seeking to create homes that are full of peace is more important than ever. It’s not that anything incredibly overwhelming happened to me personally during 2014, or that I experienced great loss like some people I care for have. I simply have this awareness that individually and collectively we’d all benefit from bringing peace into our homes, in whatever way we can.

Home should be your “safe place”, your “refuge”. Home SHOULD be the place you can breathe and BE yourself. Home SHOULD be a space of love and nurturing and joy. Home SHOULD be a place of peace.

When I looked up an antonym for peaceful, all I found was “unpeaceful”. Okay, that’s fair but I was thinking of something a little more descriptive than that. How about “chaotic”, “draining”, “tense”, “exhausting”, “scary” or “stressful”?  I’m sure you could add other words to that list. What emotions do you feel when your home doesn’t seem to be peaceful?

Depending on your life, there are so many situations that could create exactly the opposite of a PEACE FULL home. Maybe someone you live with is struggling with a physical or emotional illness; maybe that person is you. Maybe you’re in a relationship that’s toxic (or even dangerous) and home is the last place you want to be. Maybe you’re alone and lonely (or worse NOT alone and lonely). Maybe this year you’ve lost someone very dear to you.  Maybe you’re overwhelmed with juggling a job and the house and the kids and an aging parent. Maybe your home is filled with so much physical stuff that you don’t have room to breath, and NEVER experience calm and peace.  Maybe you’re over your head in debt, can’t pay the rent, or put food on the table, let alone buy gifts (and doesn’t it seem like the expectations surrounding gift giving just keep growing?). Maybe you’re simply worn out and the societal (and personal) pressure to do all, make all, buy all and BE all is JUST TOO MUCH. 

When we don’t know how to create a home full of peace we often feel like we’re powerless. Then, instead of stopping to consider what’s really important, we go into overdrive and decide that we must not be trying hard enough; that we need to DO MORE to make peace come into our home. What’s often missing, however, isn’t more, it’s less. For too many of us, these beautiful holidays have become consumer-driven instead of God-driven. 

Rabbi Harold Kushner said,  “when we look upon the story of our life, we will not think about the job we had, or how much money we had in the bank. We will ponder our relationships and reflect on the people who mattered to us. In the end, it is all about love.”

“LOVE”…..what if we choose to take a deep breath and work on love?

Sadly, during the holiday season, people often tend to experience even less peace in their homes. Of course, the irony of that isn’t lost on us. We’ve traded the joy of the holiday for the “STUFF” of it.   We’re  impatient  with others. We become exhausted.  We get caught up in the “wow, look at how wonderful everyone else’s life is” phenomena, and that robs us of even more peace. 

peace…one of this year’s Christmas cards, and what I wish for you… ©2014

This prayer was written by Teresa of Ávila in the 1500s. Its timelessness inspires me.

“May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

Listen to your heart.
Be kind to yourself.
Let your spirit soar.
Invite Peace.


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