I believe we learn a lot about ourselves by the questions we ask. This past year (2017), I filled my journal with questions I believed God asked of me. The answers came almost painfully. Sometimes a single question took a week to answer ... every day, penning a little more of the inward search for answers.
Three years ago I purchased a book of questions. Each day offers up a new question, but the owner (in this case, me) has five years to answer. So, for five years if one is able to keep up with this hand-sized book, one keeps a diary of questions and answers.
A few days ago the question at the top of the page reserved for December 27 read: When was the last time you felt at peace?
I immediately reflected on the 2016 Christmas Eve service I enjoyed in my home church in Sylvania, Georgia. My brother and I sat in the balcony of the First United Methodist Church, which guards the north end of our small, Mayberry-esque town. We climbed the near-dozen brick steps leading to the wide double doors, both sporting holiday wreaths, both wrapped in thick evergeen garland. We entered the red-carpeted vestibule, received our programs, then stole away to the winder stairs leading to the balcony where my brother (the unofficial/official church photographer) would preserve memories with the lens of his Canon.
There is something about being home. Or, back home, as it is in my case. Something about sitting in the glow of your youth, listening to the choral rendition of Christmas favorites sung by those I have known a lifetime, partaking holy communion in the same sanctuary where I first understood it, watching the candles being lit---one by one---then seeing them light a room darkened by the flip of a switch.
But, oh that light. Somehow, Dickens' England comes to Sylvania, Georgia and ... within that moment ... there it is ... the peace. Nothing else is happening in the world. No war. No hunger. No endless political whining and wailing and pounding of fists. No real news or fake news. No children striving for one more breath or older folk hoping the next one will be in the presence of the Christ we have come to celebrate. Just ... for this moment ... peace.
And so now my question for you remains: when was the last time you felt peace?