I woke up this morning and as I turned the corner into the living room, the scene took my breath away. .  . my living room lit up by the twinkling lights on our Christmas tree.  There are so many things I love about this time of year.

I love Christmastime because of the scrumptious food and drinks.  Right now I am mourning the fact that last night I left a sack at the grocery store that had my Gingerbread flavored creamer in it.  Christmas is the only time of the year that I flavor my typically black morning coffee…you better believe that I will be going back this morning to retrieve my lost fortune.

I also love the magic surrounding Christmas as is so clearly displayed in the eyes of a child.  One of my most vivid childhood memories is coming home from school in late November and seeing the Sears catalog on the table.  Over the following weeks that catalog’s pages were well broken in by three more than excited children.  Pages dogged-eared.  Toys circled and labeled with initials.  I will never forget the excitement of waking up on Christmas morning and realizing Santa had once again made a stop at our house.

I'm sure my big sis is in the background telling me exactly what to do with my gift!

I think every little girl of the 70s got a banana seat bicycle from Santa!

Christmas 1983...the year of the Cabbage Patch Kid wars at the stores! Santa scored one for me!

And who couldn’t love the music of Christmas-time?   It takes a lot to get this ole Baptist girl dancing. But when I put on my Harry Connick, Jr or Charlie Brown Christmas CDs, my body can’t help but dance around the room.  Don’t you wish you could be a fly on the wall to see that?  I’m sure you are smiling just thinking about it! (for your information I was  “MHS Prom Queen 1998”…never mind the fact that it was a joke pulled on me by my ever-loving classmates…a chance to see the Baptist preacher’s daughter dance the first dance at the Senior prom… only true friends can laugh at each other and still LOVE each other!)

Prior to leaving for the prom...worried about what I would do if I was actually crowned queen!

A memorable moment at our Senior prom...so glad it is not a video! My size 11 feet were stumbling all over the place!

The list could go on and on. .  .the reasons I love Christmas.  But as I walked into the living room early this morning, I realized that there is one reason that would jump right to the top of the list every time.

The thing I love most about Christmas is the peaceful ambiance that fills my living room each year in December.   Not the ‘peace on earth’ that some sing about.  Not the “peace” that is symbolized on t-shirts or by a hand gesture.

Each December morning as I walk into my living room, I am overcome with a sense of peace.  A peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 1:7).   As I smell the coffee brew and as I sit in my chair to have a quiet time with my Savior…it is as if the Lord is gently whispering in my ear, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Of all the things my mother taught me, one thing surpasses them all.  Every morning of my childhood, I would walk into our living room to find my mother sitting in her chair reading God’s Word and praying.  You see, it is one thing for a parent to tell a child that the Bible is important, and it is quite another thing for a parent to model for them HOW important the Word of God is.

By example, my mom taught me that her relationship with Jesus was so important that she dedicated the first half hour of each morning to Him.  Whether mom knew it or not, she was leaving an imprint on the hearts and minds of three children who would all three grow up to have a deep hunger for the Word of God.

Each December morning as I read my Bible by Christmas tree light, I am filled with a sense of peace.   No matter what the circumstances in my life that year…heartbreak, loneliness, mourning, joy, blessing… In the wee hours of the morning, God has been faithful to always remind me of these words found in Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

“You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

The world is quite mistaken. It may seem that the little baby in the manger came to earth to bring peace to the earth.  In fact, Jesus said quite the opposite in  Matthew 10:34, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (NIV)  That tiny baby in the manger came to fight for me so that through His blood I might have peace in my heart.  Though storms may rage around me, still I can have peace.

I am forever indebted to my mother who taught me, by example, to spend time with my Lord each morning and to find the ‘perfect peace’ that comes from ‘fixing my thoughts’ on His Word.

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)

May the peace of God fill your home this Christmas season in such a way that it takes your breath away!