Heavenly Peace – by Nicole Johnson

Heavenly-Peace

Sitting in front of the Christmas tree in the dark is one of the simplest and best gifts of the holiday season to me. The house is quiet and still and the lights seem brighter as the ornaments pick up the sparkle.

Unfortunately, quiet and still aren’t usually the words I associate with Christmas. It’s my own fault but frankly it is one the busiest time of the year for me. It is full of wonderful things that I love to do, like baking and shopping for just the right gift, but somehow in the middle of all the “wonderful,” I just plain lose the wonder.

Amid the hustle and bustle that is Christmas these days, the child in the manger is often lost in the shuffle or even trampled in the clamoring of shopping. Santa Clauses on the street selling cars or advertising this week’s special, spur us on toward stuff and away from the sacred. But not tonight.

Silent night is playing in my head as I sit quietly. This beautiful and simple hymn gently beckons me to stillness as I peer into the manger. No rushing here, no clamoring, just a holy infant, so tender and mild, ushering in the opportunity for the world, and me, to sleep in heavenly peace.

And isn’t that what we need tonight? Far from sleeping in heavenly peace, many are in the clutches of sleepless nights over lost jobs, lost houses, lost 401ks, and lost Christmas dreams. Such difficult times do not promote sleep or peace, but both can still be found for those who seek. Maybe not in the kind of gifts that come wrapped in shiny paper, this divine gift comes to us wrapped only in the swaddling rags of humanity—as a gift that can bring heavenly peace to earthly hearts.

Far from the mall and closer to the manger, the real hope of Christmas is rekindled in my cold, consumer-driven, perfectionist heart. I unplug the tree and invite the holy child to lay down his sweet head in the straw of my heart and head to bed with heavenly peace.

Comments

  1. Beautiful message and so true! Nicole has addressed all the things that try to get in the way of our seeing and remembering the real reason for the season. It’s not the beautiful packages or even the decorated tree. It’s the babe in the manger………….God’s gift to us. That’s where we need to focus.

  2. 2 years ago
    Care says

    Beautiful, thank you, Nicole. Have a blessed holiday!

  3. 2 years ago
    goodsoul1961 N. Billerica, Ma. says

    AMEN AMEN AMEN Happy Birthday Jesus

  4. 2 years ago
    Patti Perks says

    Nicole Johnson, once again you verbally strike the nail on the head. Thank you for your insight and authenticity. I relate very much to the “feel” of your heavenly peace script as I remember many Christmases as a child just me and the sparkling tree. I would spend much time quietly enjoying the sense of calm and excitement mixed together. I’d take my glasses off (I earned glasses in the third grade!) and peer at the fusion of lights. God met me at the tree and I loved the specialness of the season. You have reminded me of these times, often overlooked now in the busyness of work and home.
    Thanks as always for your sharing. Your sessions at the 2011 WOF conference were so moving and honest and I wanted to convey my heartfelt thanks and prayers.

  5. 2 years ago
    Maria Emigh says

    I so enjoy receiving these daily devotions. I especially love todays reminder of the hustle and bustle of this time of the year. We should stop and rest and savor the moment of our Savior’s birth and all that He has done for us. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. 2 years ago
    Janita Aalto says

    I absolutely love this post. The Holy child is so often lost in the hustle and bustle of the season and I, for one, need a reminder to slow down and remember that He is the reason for the season. Thank you Nicole, from one cold, consumer-driven, perfectionist heart to another.

  7. 2 years ago
    Dale Thomas says

    How beauitfuly put…thank you for sharing this with us….sweet. May all of you of WOF have a Merry Christmas..be blessed Dale

  8. 2 years ago
    Becky says

    Fantastic! Very well said to a world that is so in need of silence… and peace… and Heaven!

    • 2 years ago
      Puttsy says

      The Christ Child is the GIFT! It is incumbent upon us as Christians to help people rediscover the Joy, Grace, and Favor he provides all year long.

      Many of us make a birthday cake for the Christ Child on Christmas Day – I enjoy doing that so much and singing happy birthday to Him. Sometimes it’s only a cup cake with a candle in it but it is a blessed image and praise to Christ our Lord. God Bless Everyone.

  9. 2 years ago
    Robyn says

    Just the message I was needing this morning. Getting the tree up and decorated is one of my tasks this week…but one of the most rewarding. I place my Nativity beneath the tree…so everytime that I look at the tree I see Jesus. As a young child I liked to lay under the tree and look up through the branches…a different perspective but sometimes that is just what we need.
    God Bless you all!

  10. 2 years ago
    Emily says

    So grateful for reminders of what Christmas is about. How easy it is to become so wrapped up in meeting year-end goals at work, finding every last gift my child has asked Santa for, and trying to make Christmas perfect. It’s perfect without all of the fuss I try to add to it, thanks to the gift of our Savior. May you all have a very blessed Christmas and safe New Year.

  11. This morning I sat with the lighted tree drinking my coffee and counted it as number 2 on my one thousand gifts app – from one of the most inspiring women of our day, Anne Voskamp, I downloaded it on my new early christmas gift last night. The blessings associated with my gift are all tied to my choice many years ago to to give thanks in ALL things. My blog lifeacousticandamplified.wordpress.com post this morning reflects this journey. The best things in life are not things. I have found this truth in every circumstance. God is always faithful.

  12. 2 years ago
    Michelle says

    This so true!!!!! I believe the best gift is JESUS and the gift he gave us at the cross. A priceless gift for eternity!!!!!

  13. 2 years ago
    Cyndi says

    So beautifully said !
    Thank you for this reminder Nicole . Have a very blessed Christmas and safe and healthy New Year.

  14. 2 years ago
    tracy says

    What a lovely reminder! Thank you for sharing:)

  15. 2 years ago
    Patty says

    What a beautiful peace He gives us! And indeed what a beautiful piece you have written.

    I, too, love to sit with just the Christmas tree lights on and reflect on the most wonderful gift that God have given. Recently, I read this in a devotional about God’s gift of the Redeemer – It is the gift that keeps on giving! The greatest gift of all!

    It is so peaceful looking at the lights and enjoying the silence! Thank you for sharing this with us today! We all need reminders!

    Patty

  16. I love carving out “quiet” in my days; I love it even more when He surprises me with it! Maybe that’s one of our best times of worship – being quiet – since in that moment it’s not about our voices but His presence.

  17. 2 years ago
    Nancy says

    Nicole.. so well written and so very true! the reason for the season is easily lost–especially in this consumeristic world we live in. It IS hard to stay focused on the real reason-even to get into the spirit of the birth of Jesus because of all of the distractions. Thanks for the reminder that something as simple as lights and quiet can recenter us. God bless and Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!!

  18. 2 years ago
    Shirley says

    AMEN! Thank you for putting this most wonderful holiday in the perspective it should be.
    Take care and have a very merry CHRISTmas.

  19. 2 years ago
    Adriana Quesada says

    Heavenly Peace. That is the gift I would like for myself this Christmas. Thank you for helping me to stop and remember the peace that can only come from our Lord and Savior.

    Feliz Navidad

  20. 2 years ago
    Nancy Collyer says

    Ah Nicole…once again you enter my day with a deep breath and a smile. Yes, I feel it too. I so wish we could sit and have a cup of coffee, but I know when I read your book you are with me in spirit and you keep me going through this Christmas season, reflective and quiet in my mind. So much to make us crazy and sinking in finances and pressure to have the ‘perfect” Christmas. It is perfect because Jesus is perfect. I pray we can all look past what we “don’t have” and see all we do have! The CHRIST child. So simple. Merry Christmas to you and all who follow you in their hearts. We are blessed to know you!! God Bless you my friend!

    • 2 years ago
      Pat Earnest says

      Hey, Nancy, good to hear from you. Still smile when I remember our time in Nashville. You brought me closer to Him, so thanks, dear sister in the Lord. Stay warm, and celebrate Him. Love ya, Pat (from Montana)

  21. 2 years ago
    April says

    Maybe that is what we all need to do from now until Christmas… no matter what the day has been like… to spend a few moments before we go to bed sitting in the the quiet darkness, with just the lights of the tree, softly singing “Silent Night” and re-orienting ourselves to what Christmas is all about. I think I will do this tonight with a cup of tea. :-)

  22. 2 years ago
    Jackie Martin says

    Nicole, as always, you touch my heart with your heartfelt sentiments. I lost my son on New Years Eve last year and this helps me remember what a wonderful place he is in now and I can rest my heart in heavenly peace. I love those moments of peace reflecting on the real reason for christmas! God Bless you and we miss you at the Women of Faith tours,but are so happy you able to spend this time with your children. God Bless you.

  23. 2 years ago
    Jackie Martin says

    Nicole, what a wonderful poem. I love your ability to get to those deep thoughts we all have. I lost my son due to an accident last New Year’s Eve. Your poem reminds me once again what a wonderful world he is now in and brings peace to my heart. We miss you on the Women of Faith tours, but are so glad you are able to spend this time bonding with your children. God Bless you!

  24. 2 years ago
    Uncle JB and Aunt Kathy says

    Thank you for the beautiful reminder, Nicole. As we rush out for what we home will be ALMOST the last gifts (having been away a week), we try to remember the spirit of giving. Love ‘ya.

  25. 2 years ago
    Connie M. says

    Thank you, Nicole. I needed that.

  26. 2 years ago
    Ximena says

    Wow Nicole—only YOU know how to put things into the type of perspective that we should all have at this time of year, yet not all DO have. thanks a million for opening your heart to the Lord through us, in such a way through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in order to be to touch soooo many lives that need to be ready to prepare for coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas, and may He fill you with His peace now and forever.

  27. 2 years ago
    LUCY says

    Nicole,
    You hit the “nail on the head”, in the hustle and bustle of all the preparations for the “perfect” Christmas for our family, do most people stop in their tracks to realize what it’s really all about? Our family has a lawn nativity and my husband and two boys built a life size stable for it so, every Christmas season, we would put it on display and it brought us joy as people would drive down into our culdesac just to view it. That’s the true meaning of Christmas! Thank you for your words of wisdom and have a very Blessed Merry Christmas!

  28. Thank you so much, Nicole, for sharing this! How each one of us are in such desparate need to just be still and see His face and hear His voice and feel His touch and His embrace! As we do, how can we not respond to Him in genuine thanksgiving, praise, and worship! How great is our God! Merry Christmas Women of Faith!

  29. 2 years ago
    Kay Silverman says

    Thank you, Nicole. You have such wonderful insight into how we women act and feel. You hit the nail on the head, yet again. I love your stuff. It always touches my heart. Blessings to you at Christmas with your loved ones! Kay

  30. 2 years ago
    Mandy says

    I sure needed that! Wow!

  31. 2 years ago
    Sydney says

    As I opened this to read it really quick before I rushed off to do “more important things” I was pulled up short and reminded of what was really important. In summery, thank you.

  32. 2 years ago
    Genevieve says

    Nicole always knows how to reach my heart.

  33. 2 years ago
    Heather Keller says

    Wow, your reflection reminds me of lyrics from an Amy Grant Christmas song..”I need a silent night”
    “I need a silent night, a holy night, to hear na angel’s voice throguh the chaos and the noise. i ned a mif=dnight clear , a litle peace right here, to end this crazy day with a silent night….”

    I too cherish those silent moments by the tree that was decorated by myself and my children as we drank hot chocolate and remincisced about Christmases past.

    Its a symbol of the love of a family…its hopes and memories.

    Thank you for reminding me.

    you are a gift. Heather

  34. 2 years ago
    Dezaree' Major says

    Thank you Nicole; your words once again have helped me with my faith as I am one of the unlucky who has lost there job raising 4 chidren and no benefits from losing my job. I am thankful though for a wonderful landlord who through it all did not evict us and all other debtors hanging in there. It was by the grace of god that this very hard unexpected struggle I did everything I could to stay positive and srong.

  35. 2 years ago
    Kathy Chaffin says

    Thank you so much for this beautiful message. I love to sit in the quiet with only the Christmas tree lights glowing as well. Your message reminds us to remember the real reason for the season. Merry Christmas to all.

  36. 2 years ago
    Pat Earnest says

    Thanks so much Nicole. You have a gift to close your eyes, focus on Him, and give us all such a special gift, Him and what we are truly celebrating. May many turn to Him, and come to know Him, in this hurting world. Bless you, Nicole

  37. 2 years ago
    Janie Allen says

    Thank you so much for a beautiful message. Every Christmas I promise myself not to miss Christmas while I’m so busy getting ready for it.
    Just spending quiet uninterrupted time, feflecting on the joy of Christmas is the best present ever.

  38. 2 years ago
    Dot says

    So very beautiful! A reminder to all of us in this troubled world that we have Christ in Christmas. What more do we need?

  39. sweet words to my ears Nicole!! :)

  40. 2 years ago
    Sue Hubert says

    Thank you, just what I needed to remember to remember the real reason to celebrate. The birth of our Savior. Amen!!

  41. 2 years ago
    Susan says

    Thank you for the reminder to take time and be still to remember why we have Christmas…as well rest in Jesus no matter what is happening in our lives or around us.Amen

  42. 2 years ago
    Danielle Wilson says

    Dear Sisters n Christ, Naked we come,…naked we depart. Nothing really comes and nothing really goes… And at the same time everything cones and everything goes…So at the end of the day… All we got is spirit and soul and truth…for even the body deserts us as it comes both un form leaves de form – or void of form / so Be blessed. It’s all about Jesus :) really? — really :)

  43. 2 years ago
    Klarice Anderson says

    Nicole,
    Thanks for your Christmas insights!!

  44. 2 years ago
    Karen says

    Thank you Nicole for the reminder of the true Reason for the Season – Jesus Christ our precious Lord and Savior came to earth for all of US! I too, love this time of year, but wish that I could somehow be more organized and not be so busy that I lose sight of Jesus Christ. I’m so thankful that He is always with me no matter what! Let’s all encourage one another to focus on Him. We can still love and enjoy the season, but just remember why we celebrate. Thanks!

  45. What a lovely insightful piece. With Ms. Johnson’s permission, I’d like to use this as MY ENTIRE Christmas letter! Enough, already, of the ‘where we traveled to’ ‘what the kids/grandkids are doing’ — who cares?? Nothing I have to share would be as peaceful and settling as reminding us of WHO we are celebrating. God bless you, Nicole

  46. 2 years ago
    Terri Luna says

    It’s nice to be reminded that all the stress over the holiday is not necessary. You remind us what Christmas is all about, the birth of our Lord and Saviour, and that we should take a moment out of all this busyness and thank God for the birth of his son, Jesus Christ. Thanks for the reminder!