Peace of mind.
What exactly is that? How can we achieve it? How can we maintain it? Is is even possible to feel peace during this hectic season?
How can we have peace of mind when there are gifts to buy, groceries to pick up, houses to clean, decorations to be put up, parties to be thrown, presents to wrap, families to visit, and so many church services to attend?
“Sleep in Heavenly peace” may be sung, but is it taken to heart? While the Babe in the manger sleeps in peace, what about us? Are our days “calm and bright”or chaotic and dark?
A short month ago, all we heard was that Christmas wasn’t coming because all the potential presents were stranded on cargo ships. The media tried hard to whip us into a frenzy, but you know what I witnessed? A calm determination to do what we could to make Christmas as wonderful as ever. I wrote about how many people were turning to their own skills to make presents or seeking experiences to give as gifts rather than things. When it became apparent that those items lost at sea might not make it, the world didn’t end. People didn’t throw up their arms and declare Christmas a loss, and that gave me so much hope!
I found hope in the belief that mankind knows that there is something more important than things. I found hope in the joy people found in being able to give others something truly unique and special, something of themselves. I found hope that, perhaps, we are finally beginning to open our minds and hearts to receiving that peace we so long for.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
“Not as the world gives do I give it to you.” We won’t find peace of mind in cookies or wrapping paper or Christmas lights. Sure, those things can make us feel good and help us get into the holiday spirit, but peace of mind does not come from worldly things. Rather, we must look up and follow that star that promised “news of great joy” (Luke 2:10) and “peace on earth and good will among men” (Luke 2:14). We must seek true and lasting peace.
For the past several months, I’ve been leading a group of women in a study of the Wisdom Literature. These Old Testament texts of Wisdom, Sirach, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and a handful of passages frrom New Testament Epistles, have much to teach us; but the lesson on Peace of Mind really struck all of us in the group. Our discussion centered around barriers to peace of mind: hurt and anger, fear and worry. We talked about the need to forgive and the process it takes to get there. We noted that we can get through this life only trough God’s grace. We reminded ourselves that we must have faith that God has things under control even when we can’t see or feel it.
St Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, told us, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:3-5).
Over the next ten days, take some time to reflect on all your blessings. Be kind to others. Forgive those who have hurt you. Turn off the news and the Hallmark Channel, and take in the silence. Breathe in the quiet peacefulness around you. Let yourself feel the presence of God even if you’ve never felt it before.
There’s an old saying, “Wise men still seek Him.” Jesus Himself said, “Seek, and you shall find” (Matthew 7:7).
Seek Him this Christmas, and you shall find peace.
Come see Amy on one of these dates:
March 9, 2022 – Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, Wayne, PA 6:00PM – Lenten Reflection
April 9, 2022 – First Landing Wine and Arts Festival, St. Clement’s Island Museum, Clements, MD
June 4, 2022 – Christ Church 350th Anniversary Fair, Broomes Island, MD
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What I was writing about one year ago this week: A Lifetime of Blessings.
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Amy Schisler is an award-winning author of both children’s books and sweet, faith-filled romance novels for readers of all ages. She lives with her husband and three daughters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Her books, Picture Me, Whispering Vines, and Island of Miracles are all recipients of Illumination Awards, placing them among the top inspirational fiction books of 2015, 2016, and 2017. Whispering Vines was awarded the 2017 LYRA Award for the best romance of 2016. Island of Miracles has outsold all of Amy’s other books worldwide and ranked as high as 600 on Amazon. Her follow up, Island of Promise is a reader favorite. Amy’s children’s book is The Greatest Gift. The suspense novel, Summer’s Squall, and all of Amy’s books, can be found online and in stores. Her latest novel, Island of Promise, was recently awarded First Prize by the Oklahoma Romance Writer’s Association as the best Inspirational Romance of 2018 and was awarded a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2019 for Inspirational Fiction. It is the 2019 winner for Best Inspirational Fiction in the RWA Golden Quill Contest, Best Romance in the American Book Awards, and a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award of Fiction. Amy’s 2019 work, The Devil’s Fortune, a finalist in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Awards and winner of an Illumination Award, is based, in part, on Amy’s family history. The third book of Amy’s Chincoteague Island Trilogy, Island of Hope, was released in August of 2019. Amy’s book, Desert Fire, Mountain Rain begins her new Buffalo Springs series. Book two will be out in early 2022. The Good Wine, the sequel to Whispering Vines, is now available in all formats.
Amy’s books: Crabbing With Granddad (2013), A Place to Call Home (2014), Picture Me (2015), Whispering Vines (2016), Island of Miracles (2017), Stations of the Cross Meditations for Moms (2017), The Greatest Gift (2017), Summer’s Squall (2017), Island of Promise (2018), The Devil’s Fortune (2019), Island of Hope (2019), A Devotional Alphabet (2019), Desert Fire, Mountain Rain(2020), The Good Wine (2021).