“Then in despair I bowed my head
‘There is no peace on earth’ I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men…
But the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men.”
Today my “elf” went to deliver gifts from my organization Candy Cane Kids to a facility with critically ill children needing hospital or respite care. To say I was excited is an understatement; since the formation of my charity I had always wanted to help sick or special needs children, and I was finally getting to do just that. A friend made seven dozen delicious cookies to bring the kids and we were going to make cookies with them at the facility also. The gifts were wrapped and we were all set. I unfortunately couldn’t go deliver everything because of my health, but my sweet caregiver offered to deliver everything for me this morning. She called before leaving for Baltimore to ensure she brought enough gifts. There was some confusion and long story short, the delivery fell through today. There was only a few kids there but it was still a bit disappointing to me. I couldn’t orchestrate and do the delivery myself like I always do, which made everything harder. The above lyrics came into my head. Why is it so hard to help others? But then the Lord whispered to me that it’s just not the right time. And so my leftover gifts will be saved for next Christmas when I’m feeling better and can do everything. Candy Cane Kids 2017 is drawing to a close, with many children having received Christmas. I can rest in knowing that I’ve done my duty in sharing the hope of Christmas with the hopeless another year, and I am at peace.
This year Christmas is different for me than many in the past. I am still suffering from stomach problems. This past week has been especially painful. I will have to have surgery to move my feeding tube site in the very near future because nothing is helping. I cannot count the times I’ve cried over the past four months, how many times I’ve said “I can’t do this”, how many times I’ve asked God to take the pain away. And yet here I sit, still in pain. I could tell you of how frustrated I am to be in this situation or that I don’t understand God’s plan. Those feelings are true, but they’re not worth dwelling on. Then what is worth focusing on? The peace that my God unceasingly bestows on me through this difficult chapter of life, so much so that I can wake up in the morning after a long, painful night with a smile on my face and joy in my heart. Don’t misunderstand me, though. I have bad days like anyone else, where I want so desperately just to see the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. But then I have days like today where, although I’m in so much pain, I am still happy because of the peace God has given in the midst of this storm. And as I drift off to sleep on my tear stained pillow, other words come to my mind:
“Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor does He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men
And the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
In my heart I hear them
Peace on earth, good will to men”
This life is not easy. There will be ups and downs, twists and turns. God did not promise an easy life, but He did promise to give peace when our world is crashing down and we don’t know which way is up. Christmas is a crazy time of year – we scramble to find the perfect gifts for our loved ones, the prettiest tree, and a Christmas dinner that looks like it came from Martha Stewart herself. But what if we take a time out sometime this weekend to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas? When God became flesh and came down to this old ugly world so we might have life – and peace – eternal, should we give Him the ultimate gift: our hearts. Do you have peace this Christmas season? Exchange gifts with the Giver of all good things and you’ll never be the same.