Click above to listen to O Come, O Come Emmanuel as you read, from December Peace (Best Holiday Album, ZMR Awards). If you enjoy, consider sampling and ordering the CD, MP3 Album or sheet music. You can also listen on Spotify, Pandora Holiday Channel, Apple Music and all other digital streaming services.
This story is from 31 Days of December Peace (soft cover or PDF eBook). Also available from Amazon Kindle, iTunes, and other e-Readers.
Where could you use some “December Peace” today?
Embracing Life’s Seasons ~ by Colin Smith (Copyright 2012, Colin Smith, not to be re-published without permission)
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1
I remember December 2000 like it was yesterday. I was graduating from nursing school with hopes to start caring for children at a local pediatric hospital. I had met the man of my dreams, and knew that God had finally led me to my future husband. My family was looking forward to celebrating our first Christmas at our new mountain home in beautiful Blue Ridge, Georgia. It was as if God had brought everything together in perfect harmony.
I had also finished an amazing year of Bible study learning the foundations to live out my faith, and was so encouraged each week by watching God’s work take place in the relationships and lives around me. Celebrating Christmas this year felt different. Snow brought a rare white Christmas. Most vividly, there was a December Peace in my family, not only for me, but also for my sister and my parents. My twin sister had also met her future husband, and my parents were happier than I had ever remembered.
I paused and reflected on the above scripture found in Ecclesiastes 3:1 during this season. I was so thankful for this SEASON I was in, so thankful for this time to embrace, this time to quit searching, this time to love, and this time of peace.
It was in January 2001 when I felt God telling me a different season was coming. I remember thinking He was probably preparing me for my new life with a career, living independently from my parents, and taking care of all my own needs. I remember reflecting in my Bible studies. I had not had a true season in my life where I had to learn about true faith. Maybe this new season would be my time of refinement and growth.
It was January 8 when suddenly my season changed. My amazing mother passed away at the young age of 53. It was not the season I was expecting to go through. I had not focused on “a time to grieve” or “a time to cry” previously. It was through God’s incredible grace I was given that December Peace as the year 2000 came to a close. My life continues with many different seasons. To this day, I look back on that December with such gratitude and hope for the future. This season was “defining” for me personally. It brought me to a new place spiritually. I learned firsthand of my dependence on God to give me that peace that surpasses all understanding. I don’t look back with anger or bitterness. I look back with gratitude. Gratitude for an amazing mother who walked with me for my first 23 years. Gratitude for God teaching me to embrace each season of life. He has taught me how to weather each season that comes, focus my thoughts on what is true and good, and find JOY even when it is not the season I was expecting or looking for.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ~ A Time for Everything
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.