This week, I want to write a letter to YOU! After all, it is Christmas.
Last week, I had the privilege of hearing my 13-year-old grandson, Asa, and three of his peers “preach” at his church. It was the annual children’s celebration. Each year, young people entering or coming through puberty are selected to deliver sermonettes. They are helped and coached by committed adult church leaders in the preparation and delivery of the “Word.”
The theme this year was PEACE.
Children of all ages participated in the program; two girls and two boys preached. The power and uniqueness of gender and age was a joy to observe. Yet, my greatest joy was seeing the power of The Christ being born and revealed through these four young people.
My grandson’s sermon was titled, “Too Many Voices in Here.” His text was that of Jesus casting out the demons from the possessed man raging in the cemetery. He, like his friends, delivered a powerful message with equal elements of humor, profound insight into human nature and the wonder of healing grace.
So what did I learn that I want to pass on?
The man in the cemetery said he was possessed of legions of demons. One Roman legion might have as many as 3000 men! That would be for the possessed man at least 3,000-6,000 voices speaking to him at once! He begged Jesus to cast them out.
Jesus did so and cast them into the pigs in the local pig farm, where they subsequently killed themselves from the terror of the demons. The people of the town were so enraged over the lost pig revenue that they chased Jesus out of town. One profoundly tormented man was saved, but the price was too high to accept.
If you are facing down voices that rob you of your peace, what are you willing to sacrifice to have your peace restored?
How much will you pay to be free?
Does it feel like you are sometimes wandering around in a cemetery, raging and unheard or unable to speak above the noise of the voices coming from within and without?
What would it take for you to hear the sweet voice of the Christ and be set free this season?
The possessed man recognized Jesus as a source of peace and was ready for release. Here are a few possibilities for us:
Turn off the phone. Stop texting for one day and see what happens. Stop gossiping and sending hurtful, thoughtless messages that contaminate the air.
Check out the news without buying the load of fear being offered up. Write a letter and demand a balance of good news.
Read a book. Buy a dictionary. Many of our ancestors learned to read by studying the Bible.
Value the price paid by your ancestors for this freedom you take for granted. Go and see “Twelve Days a Slave” before it leaves the theatre.
Make a decision to eat one piece of fruit and some vegetables every day. You need the strength it provides.
Drink eight glasses of water a day. Your bowels need it. Sometimes the voices are just constipation crying out.
Get up and walk. Don’t just sit there and listen to the voices. Take up your bed and walk!
Commit to one act of random kindness every waking hour. If all you have to give is a smile, start grinning.
Pray for Grace… Not just for yourself, but for others too.
These are just a few ways to take control of the voices and begin to make room for the voice of God, the voice of the Christ within each of us. I listed very inexpensive ways to move into peace. We have become so spoiled and self-centered that many of these will seem like huge sacrifices. How much are the pigs in your life worth to you?
Here is a thought: there is a verse that says, “Beware of casting pearls before swine because they are likely to turn and tear you apart.”
Are you willing to receive the pearls of peace that are offered to us year round by Christ?
Are you willing to stop fattening pigs to sell for what you could get for free just by asking for Grace?
Are you willing to step up and become a new voice, a single voice of sweet, sweet PEACE?
Merry Christmas and Peace On Earth To All,
(Check out Lucy Shaw’s website at http://www.heartworks4u.com. Send your to firstname.lastname@example.org.)
(For help with the feelings that get in the way of prayer and peace of mind, get Lucy’s new book, “BE NOT ANXIOUS.” Order it directly from her at 901-907-0260 or go to her web site www.heartworks4u.com.)