Thursday, January 1, 2009

Quiet Peace

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukah...

I almost didn't blog today. I felt unable to express what was deep inside. I felt like a dry well. Unable to produce even one drop of something sustaining, but for God's mercy provision prevailed. And so here I am fingers flying across the keyboard. Because God provided. He always does. With the Holy Spirit hovering overhead, the Lord provided just what I needed to blog today.

And so, I hope this blog is comforting to you. I hope it is a reminder of how much we matter to the King (Psalm 139)! Individually. For each of us has a mission to explore. We must be still. We must allow God to quell the clatter. And in turn, He will quiet us. He will give us peace. That is His promise.

The book Treasury of Christmas Poetry contains a poem which provided much comfort to me today. 'Quiet Peace' was written by Amy Carmichael, who died in 1951 at age 84. Her story is quite amazing. You can read more about this amazing missionary at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Carmichael.

Though she lived and died over 50 years ago, Amy Carmichael blessed me today. After reading her poem, I realized I have willingly become distracted from the true reason for the Season. I had become a small cog in the 'Christmas Department'.

Today I slept in on this serene, gray and cloudly South Florida New Years day. The morning brought with it the sobering fact that I have not been quiet in a very long time. And so, coffee in hand - sans television or mp3s, the noisiness in my world was restricted to the voices in my head. In the quiet morning hours, I searched high and low for a way back into the avenue of peace.

And so, I obediently waived the white flag of surrender as I realized peace was within reach. I then handed over the chattering in my head to the Prince of Peace. Peace overcame me and the chattering ceased. I walked to the bookcase in search of an unknown but long sought-after prize, and He handed me a blessed poem in the middle of a book. A book I had never before opened.

Quiet Peace
O Lord my heart is all a prayer,
But it is silent unto thee;
I am too tired to look for words,
I rest upon thy sympathy
To understand when I am dumb;
And well I know thou hearest me.
I know thou hearest me because
A quiet peace comes down to me,
And fills the places where before
Weak thoughts were wandering wearily;
And deep within me it is calm,
Though waves are tossing outwardly.

Ahh. Another breath - breathe deeply. For this is the sweet, fresh life-sustaining oxygen we only dream of inhaling as a child on a late afternoon Summer rainshower when we have nowhere to be until the street lights come on. And I dwelt in that timeless delayed celebration of Christmas that the world forgot to denote. I languished in His presence.

And then the sobering truth. I forgot about the sweetness of the connection with Someone greater than myself. I forgot about the Lord Jesus Christ waiting for me to strike the match and light the candles on His birthday cake. I forgot the words to the song in which I truly celebrate His birth, His life.

I have been running around in response to the chatter of the world. I have been baking all the cookies, wrapping all the gifts, sending all the cards. I have had no time for devotions, no time for prayer. No time for songs - birthday or other. No time for joy. Of course I have no strength because the Joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah). Of course I have no twinkle in my eye, for Santa is not the one who provides it.

No, the Lord Jesus Christ is the One I celebrate. And so, wash me afresh O Lord, wash me afresh! The peace is attainable. If only I will slow down and breathe in the fragrance of the Season. The fragrance which has not one hint of evergreen in it. It is the fragrance that is indescribable. And eternal. And oh so precious and yet attainable if only you confess (Romans 10:9-11).

For Amy Carmichael said it well. Quiet peace. And a calm comes over me. Because there is no good reason to not experience the calm in the storm that the Lord offers each of us. So be still. Find the quiet. Find the peace. It has always been there. But have we listened? No, we have not listened. Peace. Hear it. Peace.

Merry Christmas one and all. And a blessed birthday to the King! Let's light sparklers just so we can celebrate a bit longer....
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