Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
What an amazing passage of Scripture! I want to experience what these verses in Colossians describe: compassion, thankfulness, forgiveness, love and peace. I used to think peace was the presence of quietness and the absence of conflict. Please notice the past tense of this statement. I could never get real life to match this definition. My life is filled with conflict, chaos and messy situations. Christmas does not change this reality.
At my house even baking Christmas cookies turns from the sentimental to warfare. Seriously! Last year one of my boys created Roman soldiers instead of snowflakes with his cookie dough! At first, I sighed even while I applauded his creativity. I admit I was desperately wishing there could be less drama in a simple Christmas activity. I wanted less focus on war and fighting. I wanted the implied ease of quiet.
However, upon further contemplation his choice revealed a deep truth to me. It is a battle to forgive and restore broken relationships. It takes a fighting spirit to continue to show compassion, kindness and patience. The endurance of a well-trained soldier is required to enter into the messiness of life with the resolve to help with the healing. This is a work Jesus longs to do in me and you. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He loves to gives the gift of restored relationships, the power to forgive, thankfulness in the midst of all things, the ability to love the unlovely and a beautiful peace in the midst of it all.