Untriumphantly: Peace on Earth Begins at Home

This second week of Advent is the week of Peace!

I may speak in the tongues of men, even angels;
but if I lack love, I have become merely
blaring brass or a cymbal clanging.

I may have the gift of prophecy,
I may fathom all mysteries, know all things,
have all faith — enough to move mountains;
but if I lack love, I am nothing.

I may give away everything that I own,
I may even hand over my body to be burned;
but if I lack love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful,
not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,
and it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not gloat over other people’s sins
but takes its delight in the truth.
Love always bears up, always trusts,
always hopes, always endures.

Love never ends; but prophecies will pass,
tongues will cease, knowledge will pass.
For our knowledge is partial, and our prophecy partial;
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child,
thought like a child, argued like a child;
now that I have become a man,
I have finished with childish ways.

For now we see obscurely in a mirror,
but then it will be face to face.
Now I know partly; then I will know fully,
just as God has fully known me.

But for now, three things last —
trust, hope, love;
and the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (CJB)

            I know what you’re thinking. Or, I know what I would be thinking if I were you. “This idiot is ending the week of Peace talking about love.” It is intentional, I assure you. Mother Teresa is cited as having said, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” I think that is how peace begins. How do we cultivate peace? Through love. Where is that best expressed? At home. 

            Too often our families get the worst of us. We’re tired, we’re spent, we’ve had enough, and we certainly don’t feel like cultivating peace in our homes right now. As a mom, I often feel like so much hinges on me. The mood of the house is determined by me. The priorities in the house are determined by me. I feel so much pressure to make it all so perfect. (And let’s be honest, I’m not the only person in my house, and the pressure is self-inflicted.) I am often going on such little sleep that I cannot fathom how to encourage peace on earth, much less peace in my own home. The problem is this big, complex whirlwind in my own head. “How can I keep the kids from bickering?” “How can I put something positive out into the social media atmosphere?” “How can I speak peace into the lives of hurting people?” “How can I keep my cool with this obstinate child who wants me to lose it?” It seems so complex, but it is simple: love. 

            I’m in that in-between generation between Gen X and Millennials. I refuse to be called a Millennial because I did not grow up with technology being a constant as they did. I grew up more like a Gen Xer, mostly because of small town life. But I did grow up with that heavy New Age influence that the answers to all life’s problems are in myself (please reject such garbage) and that I’m special. So, I’m a realist (Thanks, Gen X.) who thinks I’m responsible for changing the entire world (Thanks, Millennials.). That pressure gets to me. I feel like I need to change the world, but then I look at the world and think, “Who can change that dumpster fire?” The answer isn’t me. It’s Jesus. And it is only through Jesus that I can be changed with it. 

            Where does that change begin? In my home, loving my family. Flipping the Mother Teresa quote, if I love people, I’ll have no time to judge them. And that starts at home. That starts from the middle and works its way out. If my home lacks love, it is nothing. Love is where it all begins. So, instead of yelling, I’ll get busy loving. I will take delight in the truth and pointing my family toward truth, and I’ll bear them. I’ll bear with them, and I will bear them. As this dark season gets into the busier, more harried parts, I’ll remember that peace on earth begins here. It begins with Jesus loving me and changing me, and me overflowing with His love. 

Today’s song: Lift Up Your Eyes by The Brilliance

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