Tranquillity can seem a remote dream in our busy lives. Can we really be at peace with ourselves and the world around us without resorting to prescription medication, meditation or distancing? This Advent season finds me drained and drooping with exhaustion. I wonder how  to appreciate the wonder of the Incarnation of Emmanuel – God with us – if my days are full of stress, strain, weakness, frustration and pain?

Even if being sick and tired is pretty normal for me, it is still an unwelcome intrusion and one I stupidly fail to make allowances for each year. It is all too easy to fool myself into thinking – This Year will be different: I will be well (relatively speaking), prepare in advance, pace myself, not get so exhausted that I can barely keep my eyes open at all come Christmas Day itself.

Living life in an endless pit of exhaustion, a blur of activity or a frazzled state of stress can’t be right. Perhaps there is a way to be heavenly minded in an earthly existence?

A few weeks ago a friend sent me an e-mail with a verse she felt led to share. It was a timely reminder to rest in God’s presence:

“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” ~ Psalm 46:10

I have been thinking through each word from the opening part of this verse and wondering how to incorporate it into my life in a practical way…

Be: Be aware. Be in the moment. Being instead of doing. Being open and receptive to the whispers of God’s grace. Be thankful for the good things in your life. Consider the glory of Being Alive and able to relate to God and to others.

Still: Still the body.  Sit or lay in a relaxed position. Allow your thoughts to subside. Calmly allow them to flow and observe as if from a distance. Take some slow, deep breaths. Give any anxieties or cares over to God.

And know: Offer up your heart to God. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you by His presence and through His word. Recognise that God inhabits the quiet places and we may have to tune our hearts to hear Him speaking. Quietly offer yourself to Him as you pay attention to anything He may be saying to you. Be thankful that He is a God who desires to be known.

That I AM God: Here we recognise the historical ‘I AM’ who revealed Himself to Moses. The eternal nature of His being is revealed in that description.

You may be thinking that I am speaking to you as someone who has perfected the art of being, of resting. My body may be still, significantly less active and able than I want it to be but that doesn’t prevent my mind from buzzing around restlessly, even when hampered by fatigue and brain-fog.

It can be so hard to switch off when running on adrenaline a lot of the time just to keep focused and seemingly alert. Writing whenever energy and inspiration are flowing helps me not to overtax myself when it isn’t.

Perhaps it’s time to put away the idea of ‘perfect schmerfect’ and settle for ‘good enough’ this Christmas and beyond?

It may mean shifting the focus this season away from our faults, failings and potentially organised chaos, away from mass and crass commercialism, and stopping to remember God is the Eternal Now, the great I AM who is ready to meet with us right where we are in our messy, imperfect humanity – and already has in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Don’t be in such a hurry with life that you rush past those warm, quiet places where you have met with the Lord and enjoyed His company. The peace and perspective that comes from those few sweet moments will colour the rest of your day” ~ Joni Eareckson Tada ‘Daily Devotionals’

Over to you:
Have you lost sight of what is really important in the run up to Christmas?
What does being at peace look like to you?