Uncertainty tends to magnify conflict and strong opinions. And in these past few years, we’ve all faced some conflict. But hold on. It’s possible to find peace at Christmas.
Whether it’s political arguments that start over holiday dinners, social media comments that get a little heated, or having tough conversations about boundaries, sometimes the people we love the most can also cause us the most stress.
Peacemakers not Peacekeepers
Peace is possible in our relationships. In fact, bringing peace to the world is our responsibility as followers of Jesus. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Matthew 5:9 NIV
Notice it says “peacemaker”—not “peacekeeper.” Peacemaking is an active process. It doesn’t mean we go along with every opinion that gets thrown out around the dinner table. It also doesn’t mean that we have to agree with everything our friends and family believe. Those actions may avoid conflict, but they don’t make peace.
It’s also tempting to ignore conflict or pretend it’s not there. But Romans 12:9 reminds us that love must be sincere. If we hide our hurt feelings, we’re not bringing peace—we’re avoiding the process of making peace.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18 NIV
Notice it says, “as far as it depends on you.” That means we don’t get a pass because of our crazy uncle’s behavior. No matter how chaotic everything looks around us, God still wants us to pursue peace, whether by engaging someone directly or removing ourselves from a situation.
How to Make Peace at Christmas
So what does it mean to be a peacemaker? It starts by asking God for wisdom, then testing our thoughts. Are we filled with patience or frustration? How about humility or pride? by evaluating our thoughts, we can discover our motivations. Jesus was a peacemaker because he lived for others. His motivation was love. Being a peacemaker is having confidence in what you believe while showing love, kindness, and patience to everyone. It means that, even though it’s okay for us to share our opinions and voice our concerns, we prioritize other people above ourselves.
A peacemaker is humble and gracious when they share their perspectives. They evaluate their motives for sharing and make sure they do so with restoration in mind. And they ask whether their goal is seeking righteousness or being right.
So, pause when you find yourself in a situation that needs some relational peace. Assume the best of the other person. Talk about how you’re feeling or what you’re thinking. Be humble, show empathy, and pray. Then, ask yourself what next step you can take to bring peace at Christmas and every other day of the year.
When you do so, you’re a peacemaker, and you’re a child of God.