One of my favorite songs this time of year is Who Would Imagine A King. It just floods my soul with images of Mary, Joseph, Jesus, and all that surrounded them. In the most unexpected of ways, hope was born, love came down, and peace was ushered in. The peace that passes understanding. Not just a feeling, but peace in its most unaltered, raw, true form. Actual peace, which by its very definition is “freedom from disturbance,” graced our lives and set things right. In one night, God’s redemption plan for us became reality. Prophecy was fulfilled. The Messiah came. Was it the way people thought it would be? Not hardly, but it was better. It was God’s provision, and it was perfect.

More often than not, when expectations and reality collide, there is disappointment, but there are times when that which God calls us to and allows us to be a part of blows us away. In those moments, our joy cannot be contained, and we are speechless in the very presence of Jesus. When will we ever learn that we can’t put God in a box? Our God is matchless, indescribable, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent — he has no limits. It should come as no surprise that God’s plan will always exceed my expectation.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
— Isaiah 55:8–9 ESV

Peace equals freedom. We live in a crazy world, and this is a chaotic time of year. Our calendars are beyond full. Our credit is maxed. Our to-do lists are growing. The sounds of the season are on repeat. We are sleep deprived. Work demands continue to grow. We are pulled in every direction. We long for just a moment to breathe, but we agree to one more thing to keep from disappointing someone, keep up with someone, or just appease the masses.

It is so easy to get caught in the current of this world, but we don’t have to live this way. In fact, we are called to live life differently. The Christmas season itself should bring joy to our souls. If the season ushers in anything else, it’s time to make some adjustments. It is time not only to remember who we are, but whose we are. Sometimes we just need to readjust and set things right.

My dear children, you come from God and belong to God. You have already won a big victory over those false teachers, for the Spirit in you is far stronger than anything in the world. These people belong to the Christ-denying world. They talk the world’s language and the world eats it up. But we come from God and belong to God. Anyone who knows God understands us and listens. The person who has nothing to do with God will, of course, not listen to us. This is another test for telling the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of deception.
— 1 John 4:4–6 MSG

I love everything about this time of year, as long as I have perspective. A little over 2,000 years ago, hope was born. God came to earth. The birth of Jesus, our Messiah, wasn’t what was expected, but God knew our need. He provided. He exceeded our need beyond comprehension. He gave and brought us eternal life, unconditional love and abounding peace. A baby changed everything. It isn’t circumstantial. It isn’t temporary. When I allow God to change me, to truly take over and lead my life, the baby, our Messiah, God in flesh appearing changes everything.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
— John 14:27 NIV