God is calling us to more than the material level of life and God is waiting to bring us to it. All we have to do is to live well with others and live totally in God. All we have to do is to listen totally in God. All we have to do is listen to the voice of God in life. And we have to do it heart, soul, and body. The spiritual life demands all of us.
These words stirred something inside of me. My heart felt the passion; my soul longed for this spiritual aptitude, and my body desired to taste and see God like I never experienced before. My host-father used to say with a chuckle, “There’s nothing like a high from the Most High.” He grew up in the hippie movement in the 60s and found the way to God through Jesus Christ. He kept life simple despite the fact that he could have had a bigger abode than his two-bedroom farm house, a flashier car than his Chevy Trax, vacations to luxury resorts rather than trips to see family and friends. There was always a deep peace within him, even as he drew his last breath in a body ravished by cancer. Perhaps, it’s an age thing, though I’d prefer to think of it more as maturity or growth, but possessing things has become less important to me. Instead, peace has become the riches I have begun to hoard.
The Peace in the Stillness
For someone who loves energy and the energy that comes from music, lifting weights, or the challenge of pushing my heart and lungs to work at their maximum, I appreciate also the silence, especially before the crack of dawn. There is something so magical and mystical about this time of the morning. I feel as if God is up waiting—waiting for me. And for that moment in time, it is absolutely perfect. He is so present. My voice breaks the silence as I read aloud the sacred scriptures from the Bible. I love the passages when Jesus speaks, because I get to pretend I am He. Being theater-trained, it seems natural and fun to do it this way rather than succumb to slumber or boredom. When I pause or stop reading, I know God is trying to get my attention. I know He wants me to pay attention to something I have just read. I wait in the silence to allow Him to show me. I enjoy the warmth from the coffee and the mental stimulation that the coffee provides. Ah! The perfect combination: coffee with God. This is peace…the stillness. The house is quiet. I do not feel alone, although I am alone. I love this place—this space.
Was that night when Jesus was born like this–still? I doubt it; there seemed to have been a lot of movement. Wise men and shepherds were on the move and, soon thereafter, Herod was looking for the baby Jesus. Perhaps, a baby’s cry broke the silence, announcing the miraculous birth, as the angels did to the shepherds: “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
The birth of Jesus brought the possibility of peace in the midst of imperfection, chaos and fear. Peace is the gift or the treasure. This time of year, many of us focus on giving gifts. Whilst giving gifts is a good thing, we should seek to cultivate and share the gift of peace foremost. After all, there are now so many opportunities for us to do so, beginning with ourselves, family members and neighbors.