Peace, Love and Joy
23rd December 2020
During the Christmas period, we often hear words like joy, peace and love all linked together more than usual.
We do often hear people speaking about love all throughout the year… you hear about love in songs all the time, love for our families and friends, about the chicken burger the chef makes that you just can’t get enough of and love for a few other hundred things.
Why is it though that during this Christmas period we throw in a few other words, like peace and joy?
Is there a correlation between these words, or do we just need to fill the ‘space’ on shop walls and on banners - or is there something more to it all?
If we look at the tradition of Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a very special child who was supposed to fulfil thousands of years of prophecy and bring an end to suffering and slavery, physically, mentally and spiritually.
Hearing this, and that this child has come, brings an initial emotion of joy and celebration for me. Knowing that this child was to grow up to save people from the dreadful rule of the Romans was a very happy and joyful thing to hear for those who lived back in Jerusalem many years ago.
When you hear the word ‘joy’, what do you think of?
For me, joy is a word that means so much more than just happiness. I’ve had many happy moments in my life, but I think of the birth of my kids for example when I think of pure joy. Joy is a deep pleasure, almost reserved for extremely special occasions and events. Other words that seem to go with joy are things like delight, jubilation, triumph or huge celebration.
So let’s come back to joy in a second.
Another word – what about “Peace”?
Peace is more than just a symbol from the hippy years, or more than a photo of a dove with an olive branch in its mouth. Have you ever truly had a moment of peace? I often hear mothers begging for just one minute of peace and quiet, but have we ever truly experienced a moment of true, pure, unadulterated peace?
In the Jewish tradition and language there is a word, Shalom. Shalom is such a deep concept that most people will never really grasp. It symbolises perfection, how things are perfectly supposed to be, but also perfect peace.
Having a background in science, I know a bit about finding elements such as iron, gold or other metals in the earth or in their natural state, they are often polluted or mixed with other bits and pieces and need to be purified so they are clean and can be used for specific roles. Pure gold is magnificent and makes beautiful jewellery. Pure iron can be used for building things or pure oxygen can help us breathe properly when we struggle.
The idea of purified emotions or moments for us to experience such as pure love, pure joy or pure peace is an extremely rare occurrence for anyone in the human race – but are they something we can, or even should seek out for during this Christmas period?
This Christmas, how amazing would it be if we actually practiced or trained ourselves to be in each moment, look for and experience true and pure love, joy and peace?
I think we will find that they are all actually linked. What I mean by that, is I believe if you find and experience moments of pure love, you will also experience pure joy and pure peace in that moment.
If you experience an unadulterated moment of pure joy, you will truly understand love and peace also. If you find yourself in a moment of genuine peace.. not just silence.. but actual peace –you will also experience love and joy.
May you seek and find many moments this Christmas filled with joy, love and peace and take them with you into this next year.
Simon Mapleback, Pastoral Care Practitioner at our Gisborne Oaks