“Blessed are the peacemakers. For they shall be called the children of God.”
It was years ago, but the memory is fresh.
With an eager expectancy we navigated our way through the ever-thickening crowd. Muzak overhead. The numbing (or perhaps soothing) roar of conversations all around. There were couples casually cruising. Small bands of teenagers sauntering.
Lone mothers briskly darting and doting in and out of shops, with the ever-shortening list of gifts to acquire. One less here. One less there. Getting it done.
The blend of aromas from the food court suggested we were getting closer…nearer to the ultimate, culminating purpose of our journey.
And then it happened. The crowd broke. The Muzak crescendoed. There he was.
“Look Mommy, it’s Santa Claus! It really is.”
A quick stop to comb hair and brief the boys on St. Nick-etiquette.
We rehearsed what each would ask for.
This was, after all, their opportunity. Their one shot to get it right. To let him know.
As we crossed the “wait here” tape, the strangest thing happened to our (then) two year old. Thrill and exhilaration turned to fear and trepidation.
We timidly, reverently, edged our way closer.
Step by step. Or, perhaps half step by half step, until we were there.
In the very presence of His Merry-ness.
Knees knocking, and uncharacteristically quiet, Jackson approached the throne of the Benevolent Giver of Gifts, (Which was about as far as he could bring himself to go.)
Muscles tense, brow furled, feet turned in the opposite direction, he did muster the courage to reach forward far enough to take the complimentary package of M&M’s from the Red-suited One. It was enough.
His older brother, however, having been through the routine before, knew there was nothing to fear from the White Bearded All-Knower of If You’ve Been Bad or Good.
He confidently assumed his rightful position on the lap of the Jolly Old Elf and not only articulated his wish list (in detail), but then proceeded to comfort and coax his brother to be at peace with He, the Great Double-Checker of Lists.
As I think about the different reactions each of our sons had that year, it makes me wonder if that’s not a bad way to think about how we experience true Peace.
Peace does not come without first a little fear and trepidation.
It is always (and will always be) preceded by the angst of the unknown.
But with time…
and ONE ANOTHER…
we discover the true steadying power Peace.
Prince of Peace, Great stabilizer of my own Soul,
help me this week to turn what I know,
and what I have experienced the hard way,
into a tool of Grace; an instrument of YOUR Peace.
Johns Creek Baptist Church