Giving our Children the Gift of Peace | Marvelous Mundane

There was a Christmas in the Before Children past where my husband and I attempted from-scratch-gingerbread houses. As in, bake the gingerbread dough, chill the dough, shape and bake the dough, and assemble the house. Or, attempt to assemble the house. I’m not sure how many bags of confectionary sugar and crumbled gingerbread walls we went through before we surrendered. I do know the kitchen looked like a disaster zone. Since then, gingerbread house kits bring actual enjoyment to gingerbread house making. Most of the time.

Somehow I landed the job of chief assembler; piecing together the miniature village before little hands add the colorful candy decorations. Surrounded by three pairs of overeager hands, three small wiggling bodies, and three questioning voices, my peace of mind lasted approximately one house into the village build. One of the small arms reached across the counter, starting a chain reaction of movement that sent the only assembled house tumbling to the floor. My last thread of calm vanished, and so did my peaceful voice… and an overwhelmed child disappeared down the hall. I instantly felt bad. Because in the grand scheme of things, how important was that tiny broken gingerbread house? Was a perfectly put together gingerbread village really more important than modeling a peaceful heart for my children?

Gingerbread houses only come once a year, for us. But this scene plays out over and over, in its own way every day. Mom wants peace. Mom wants efficiency. Mom wants success. And all too often, these sweet boys seem to be obstacles and adversaries to those goals. What these boys need more than any number of gingerbread houses is a mom who models peace in disappointment. Peace in frustration. Peace in conflict. Greater than any magical Christmas tradition is the gift of peace from a mother who has found her joy and satisfaction in the Prince of Peace.

Because peace is not the absence of conflict; it is a steadied heart in the midst of conflict. It is not an absence of disagreement or discipline, but recognizing the purpose in each encounter. It is not the denial of emotions, but of clinging to Truth Himself in the midst of emotions.  The gift of peace is not a specific decibel level in our home, but a certain decidedness in our hearts; a belief that the work of Jesus Christ was not simply to give us an eternity with Him, but to also give us a life of Him with us. Jesus in us does not need a perfect gingerbread house, an uninterrupted night’s sleep, a white picket fence, or tidied house to extend His love, His grace, His truth.

Ultimately this gift of peace points our children back to the giver of all Peace. When we model this peace for our children we remind them, and ourselves, that the value of our lives is not determined by what we accomplish, how we look, or what we do, but in WHOM we have been created and loved by. When I forget this, I look to look to things around me to create a temporary peace, a peace that will only last until the next interruption, the next broken plate, or the next night time wake up. Let’s allow these moments to push us back the reality of our risen and present Savior!