Since I’m married with children, I now finally understand why my parents always asked for peace and quiet as a Christmas gift. I am the fifth born — two sets of twins and me. My siblings happen to be eight and 12 years older, so in many ways, it was like having three sets of parents in the house (two with which I argued, fought and fussed with).
Also and honestly, due to our significant age gap and not having a twin of my own, there may have been just a germ of what some call “only-child syndrome.” Yes, only-child syndrome is a real thing. It often flares up when a child does not get his or her way. If I had been allowed more writing space, I would have communicated the cure for only-child syndrome.
Back to the matter at hand. My parents often asked for peace and quiet because the home wasn't filled with it that often. It was not unusual to hear things like, “I was watching television first” or “but I hit him because he was sleeping with his eyes open” or the weekly “I slapped him because he was banging on the piano while we were watching ‘The Cosby Show.’” Five children in a house that was at many times crowded with their friends and other family members does not necessarily paint a picture of peace and quiet. Yet, every year that’s what my parents would ask for.
Over the years, I’ve often thought about what is it that Christ would want for Christmas. After all, it is the day that we celebrate His birth. A couple of weeks ago, it hit me as I read Romans 12:9-21. What Christ would want for Christmas is similar to what my parents wanted — everybody in the house getting along. My parents referred to it as peace and quiet. The Scripture outlines it in Romans 12:9-21.
The church is called a number of things in Scripture but among those things, the church is called a family and the household of God. Carefully examining Romans 12:9-21 provides the reader with the opportunity to see what the marks of the family and the household of God are. The things found in Romans 12:9-21 are the very things that Christ wants and requires of us.
Consider some of the things that this passage requires of those who make up the church. Genuine love, outdoing one another in showing honor, contributing to the needs of others, showing hospitality, living in harmony and many more things. I believe that if Christ were to write a Christmas list that these are the things that He would ask for.
Beloved, read Romans 12:1-9. Prayerfully and intentionally examine this passage with your family. Read this passage with your friends, read over this passage and pray through this passage with your church family. Get Romans 12:2-21 in your head and get the passage in your heart. Once you have it, then commit yourselves to doing Romans 12:9-21.
Do it for yourself. Do it for others. Most of all, do it because this is what honors Christ. May your Christmas season be filled with love, joy and peace.
— The Rev. Deryk D. Hayes is pastor of First Baptist Church, Freeport.