It Brings Out the Worst in People

Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.
Proverbs 28:25 (NLT)

God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
Matthew 5:9 (NLT)

My wife, the consummate bargain-hunter, loves diving headfirst every year into the riotous mess that is Black Friday. She is welcome to it. The crowds, the noise, the chaos, the tempers flaring… it’s more stress than I need at Christmas. Of course, anymore it’s looking like she’ll need to pack heat if I want her to actually make it home with that $4 foot massager.

Seriously, we’ve all seen the stories on the news. A worker is trampled to death as crazed shoppers stampede a discount store on Black Friday. Fists fly when one of them tries to snatch a bargain out of another shopper’s cart. Harried parents trade insults and threats of violence over a place in line… the line to visit Santa.

I mean, Christmas is about peace on earth, right? Good will toward men, and all that? Not anymore. These stories are the stuff of daily headlines during a typical Christmas season in 21st-century America. And if that’s how men are going to behave, then frankly, they don’t deserve good will. I guess it used to go without saying, but it’s worth repeating since it’s apparently been forgotten: it’s not supposed to be like this. Busted lips and black eyes over Elmo dolls are just a symptom. The real problem is sin, sin that has managed to corrupt everyone and everything in this world—Christmas included.

That’s where we come in. We don’t have to fall prey to this seasonal madness. If sin is the symptom, the peace of Christ within us is the cure. Tune out the Muzak carols while you shop this year, and listen to the Holy Spirit guide you toward real, practical actions that spread peace instead of consternation.

Help me to find peace in this chaotic season, Lord. Where peace cannot be found, work within me to spread it.

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