Reverend Dr. William H. Curtis

1 Peter 4:8-9

Above all, love one another deeply, because our love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (NIV)

As the leaves start to change and fall this season, I find myself reflecting on the year thus far and what’s to come. I start to wonder: did I follow my New Year’s resolutions? Did I accomplish everything I needed to to make 2016 the best it could be? We are about to enter our busiest season: the holidays. Full of fall revival services, bountiful food, gift giving, celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, and the welcoming of a new year, there is no doubt that this season also means chaos and stress. We love our celebrations, but what about all of the planning that goes into them? The last-minute errands we have to run, trying to find the perfect recipe or the perfect present, gathering together families that don’t always get along perfectly—it can all be a bit much. Add in the volunteer opportunities, decorating, the Christmas concerts and plays, and our otherwise normal daily routines, and it can be hard to catch your breath. But it’s important we don’t let this special season pass in a blur; we need to reflect on our experiences and find our peace so we don’t get lost.  

Before the more recognized holidays begin, we have a few that occurred the last couple weeks that are a little lesser known: International Day of Peace and National Good Neighbor Day. Each year on September 21st, we celebrate International Day of Peace. According to The General Assembly of the United Nations, the day serves as a day “devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” Though this day has passed, I think it is crucial we all remember the reason we celebrate that day, and carry it with us not only through the rest of the season, but each and every day. Remember that we are all children of God, created to serve a specific purpose. Take that with you when you’re shopping on Black Friday and a fellow shopper or worker upsets you. Take that with you when you’re at work and a discussion becomes heated. Remember that as you hear about the heartbreaking tragedies you see on the news. Remember the importance of peace. And most notably, take peace to heart for yourself during this chaotic season. Take a moment to breath, reflect, and give your thanks to God for His bountiful blessings. 

Just days ago, on September 28th, we recognized National Good Neighbor Day. I know, this sounds like just another made up “holiday,” like “Make Up Your Own Holiday Day” or “National Popcorn Day.” You might be wondering why I think National Good Neighbor Day is notable. I invite you to return to the verse I mentioned earlier from 1 Peter 4: “Above all, love one another deeply, because our love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling” (8-9, NIV). Of course, we love when we have good neighbors. We feel safe; we don’t have to awkwardly avoid them on our front porches; we have someone to keep an eye on things when we’re out of town. But most importantly, we need to be good neighbors ourselves, offering hospitality without ill will. And this idea fits perfectly with the feeling of peace that came from celebrating International Day of Peace. Peace and hospitality go hand in hand, especially in a season where greed can be just a little too prevalent. 

So as you find yourself in the midst of celebration, remember to stop and take a breath and find your peace. Share your peace with others, and “love one another deeply.”