Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth...

It's that time of year again when I normally put up the "Brown Family Picture".  LOL.  Well I did not get a Brown family picture this year.  Next year I promise!

But I do want to wish everyone a VERY blessed Holiday filled with family, fun and friends.  Please let us ALL remember the reason for the season!

Thank you all for being so loyal through this year and EVERY year.  I feel so very blessed to know you all and I thank you ALL from the bottom of my heart!

But this year (since I am a slacker and have no family picture)  I am going to bless you with something EVEN better.  My friend Lauren Botts is on my blog this year.  I am so proud  to know Lauren.  At the end is a link to Lauren's blog.  Please you all do yourselves and favor and go read it from time to time.  It will make you feel all warm inside I promise!   I love you Lauren, I know your Mom and Dad are so proud as I am!  Merry Christmas my friend!

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

December 23rd. The day before Christmas Eve. Probably a lot like everyone else's. Two of us were sprawled out on the floor trying to make sense of all the gifts. Wondering aloud how in the world the children ended up with so much stuff! We were a tangled mess of wrapping paper, ribbons and tape. One of us was in the (very small and not definitely not gourmet) kitchen making two hundred sugar cookies for the kids to decorate on Christmas Eve. From the oven being too small to the cookie sheets being to big. Cooking in Ghana is always a challenge but the sweet smell of home made cookies makes it all worth it.

The conversation turns to questions. We all took turns answering. Favorite Christmas tradition? Mom’s seafood gumbo. Best Christmas gift? John Favorite holiday treat? Ritz crackers with peanut butter centers dipped in chocolate. Worst Christmas gift? Five gallon jug of pork rinds. They were all answered. The final question was; favorite Christmas carol. Let there be Peace on Earth. “I don’t think I know that one.” One of the ladies responded. I sang a few bars and it was confirmed, she did not know that one. Most people don’t. It’s a forgotten Christmas song. Probably because there are no sleigh bells, lyrics filled with holiday jargon or mentions of lowing cattle. More then likely it’s not going to be sung at your Christmas Eve service.

I’ve always been fond of things that are more obscure. For the most part (there are always exceptions) if it’s mainstream or mass produced it’s probably not going to be my favorite. You’ll never see me carrying a Coach bag, wearing Crocs or sporting any sort of jewelry that has a visible high end designer logo on it. (Think the Tiffany heart, Chanel’s interlocking C’s, or Louis Vuitton’s LV logo). It’s just not my style. I’m also guilty of buying something new and having it re-constructed to an even newer and totally unrecognizable version. Point: I like things that are unique, one of a kind and different. Hence the favorite Christmas carol.

Let There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.

What are you doing to further peace on earth? Okay, okay. Like the song says, let’s start small. What are you doing to further peace in your own life? Your own family? Your workplace, classroom, place of business or church? Don’t be a problem maker, be a peace maker. Even if it’s just in the very moment you are currently in.

To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally!

Oh! That’s my favorite part. To take and LIVE each moment in peace. Read it again and let it sink in. I’ll wait.

Right!? I know! There are some folks out there that are not peaceful. And I’m not talking about inner struggles and personal turmoil lack of peace. I’m talking outwardly expressions and extensive peace-less-ness that slaps others in the face. Sometimes I get antsy, annoyed and anxious and that’s when my lack of peace rears it’s ugly face. Now there is a difference between peace and patience. I can be patient all day long but you’re probably going to know I’m unhappy about it. Peace is different. It’s like Grandma Gladys. Never a harsh word, always soft spoken and a pleasant smile always on her face. She got better and better the older she became. It was the peace. If peace isn’t a major player in our lives then we’re just going to get BITTER with age instead of BETTER.

There are always reasons to lose your peace. But there is one huge reason not to. the peace that transcends all understanding. Take some time this Christmas to focus on that Peace. Cling to Him. I pray for my actions and reactions to be controlled by peace. So that others will see my peace and know my Peace.

I hope you and yours have a phenomenal Christmas. Focus on the peace and the purpose of the holiday season. Know that all the way in Ghana children are having Christmas in a peaceful environment, off the streets. The same children are enjoying presents, food and the joy of feeling love because of you and your support. This is the Christmas all other Christmases will be compared to. Thank you for helping me get here.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

Lauren Botts
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