Skip to main content


how busy are you right now?  pretty busy, right?  take a look at your to-do list, if you keep such a thing.  you may have shopping to do, gifts to wrap, things to bake, parties to plan, things to decorate, lights to hang, cards to send, not to mention the normal routines of life like work and cleaning and paying the bills.  put altogether, the season kind of makes you want to take a time out.  it's the most stressful time of the year.

and yet many of us will probably receive some beautifully designed christmas cards, maybe even with some gold foil or some serene photograph, that will boldly proclaim that this is a season of PEACE.  peace?  really?  what exactly about this season is peaceful?  raise your hand if you find this to be the most peaceful time of the year?  *looking around*  that's what i thought.  even as i asked the question you were remembering that you forgot to pick up that gift card for exchange at work so you'll have to get that this week, and you need to remember to get that surge protector for the lights.  sigh.

and yet.  this is the season of peace.  but why?  and how?  in the midst of all the craziness that has become Christmas, how can we have peace? 

well, in a word, perspective.

if we can move through these days with intentionality and with perspective, remembering that all the tree-decorating and trimming, and the baking and sending and hanging and wrapping - all of it - is because of one little vulnerable baby.  if we can live out our pre-Christmas (advent) days in the awareness of that child, then we can have peace because we can remember what all this is about.  without the baby in the straw, there is not man of galilee.  without the man of galilee, there is no hill of the skull.  without the hill of the skull, there is not empty tomb.  and without the empty tomb, there is no hope for you and i; there is no redemption; there is no life. 

and so, as we hang the lights and try to figure out why half the strand won't light up; or as we work on our christmas letter, or try to figure out what to buy or how we can afford it, we need to stop and take some deep breaths.  we need to remember that the tiny little human in a manger is not just another baby, but is God with skin on, the incarnation, emmanuel: God with us!  it may not be easy to understand, but even in the midst of chaos, we can have a deep peace because our perspective reminds us of the bigger picture. 

so that is my wish for you this season:  peace.  peace that passes understanding.  peace that comes from perspective.  and i pray that you find sometime to get to church and worship the One who wrote and first sang the redemption song.  make time to come together with a community of people who are trying to hear that song amidst the din of holiday noise, and sing it along with them.  come home for christmas, and know the peace that passes understanding.  peace to you.


NJ Grandma said…
To do list - my list seems to never end - just when I think the last thing is crossed off - 4 or 5 or 6 more things get added. You are right we need to stop and enjoy the peace of the season. Hope the Milinovich family has a PEACEful holiday season.
greg. said…
right back atcha, NJGrandma! hope you are all well.
Greg C. said…
Well said my friend. Peace be with you too.

Popular posts from this blog


i made these comments and prayed the following prayer at one of our worship services at SPWF yesterday, and had a few folks asked if i would post them, so there they are: 
It has been a season of terrible tragedy.  And I have noticed in the news a trending phrase: thoughts and prayers.  It even has its own hashtag on twitter and other social media, but net necessarily in a good way.  People are understandably tired of hearing about others’ thoughts and prayers, when that is only a thinly-veiled way of saying that our only obligation to those who suffer is a brief moment of silence, or nothing more than a tweet or public statement.  The truth is that, for those of us who follow Jesus, much is required when our neighbors suffer.  We are called to do justice where we can, to love kindness and mercy, and to walk with God through it all.  But let us be careful not to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  We are, as people of faith, those who know that prayer is not simply an em…

a divided tree

there is a tree in my back yard.  i'm pretty sure it's an oak tree.  at least that's what i think Shannon told me.  i don't know my oaks from my maples, my elms from my locusts.  to me, it's a tree: a corinthian column bursting up into life and glory.  full of sap and pulp and rings and bugs and cells pulsing with water and always reaching for something.  it is full of rhythm, reach and flourish then fall and die, and repeat. 

this particular tree, though, isn't of one mind. 

half of it's rusted orange leaves have given up their grip and surrendered -gracefully or not - to the pull of gravity and the threat of winter.  the north side of this inauspicious oak is just about bare naked, all sticks and straight lines, a skeleton of itself.  but the side that looks south is stubbornly resisting change.  no longer green, the leaves have compromised their summer vibrancy, but they are clearly not ready to concede death just yet. 

i feel like i can relate to this …

thankful right now

"if the only prayer you ever say in your life is 'thank you,' it will be enough." -Meister Eckhart

"thanksgiving is inseparable from prayer." -John Wesley

i've been thinking about gratitude quite a bit this week, and how to foster a thankful spirit in the midst of the barrage of bad news that for me is punctuated by yet another "breaking news" notification on my phone, interrupting the busyness of my day to rudely remind me that the world's brokenness knows nothing of limits or boundaries, not to mention my schedule or sanity.  still, the bad news keeps coming. 

i just scrolled through my most recent notifications just from the last few days and they contain phrases like "crimes against humanity," "57 million users hacked, but not reported," "alleged pattern of sexual abuse," and "extremely disturbing," just to name a few.  how am i supposed to be present at a staff meeting when my phone is buzzing …