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For years, our family has gone to Busch Gardens’ Christmas Town. Over 10 million lights fill the park and it has become a sweet tradition.

There is one place that I always love, the peace bridge. The whole park is bustling, but on this bridge, it is calm and still. The song, “Let there Be Peace On Earth” is playing quietly.

Four years ago we walked over that bridge and contentment filled my soul. The six of us were together. Hot chocolate filled our bellies and excitement over Christmas coming soon filled our minds.

All was well.

Later that evening, we sat down for dinner. On Samuel’s last bite of food, he stood on his seat, then slipped. He landed hard but got up. His mouth was open to cry but no cry came out.

He was choking. 

Phillip and I both registered what was happening and Phillip quickly scooped him up and flipped him over and began hitting his back.

I was nursing 3 month old George, but quickly passed him off to a stranger as I watched my sweet son start to turn blue. 

Phillip kept trying to get the food to dislodge to no avail.

Loudly, I cried to my Lord to save him. Over and over, I yelled, “Jesus, help!”

Behind me, a stranger wrapped their arms around me, their right hand resting on my chest. She began to whisper in my ear, “They’re going to get it up. They’re going to get it up.” A calm assurance in my panic.

Samuel’s body went limp.

– – – – – – – – – –

Fear filled me. 

My son. 

– – – – – – – – – – 

Phillip hit harder.

Finally, the lodged food fell from Samuel’s mouth and air entered his lungs.

Phillip flipped him over and shakily handed him to me. As Samuel’s cries filled my ears, I melted to the floor, unable to stand. 

Philip, Caroline and Kate came to the floor with me. All of us weeping at the gift that God had given to us in that moment, Samuel’s life. 

As we remained a crying heap on the floor, and the hundreds of onlookers all took a sigh of relief and started to go back to their meals, a man’s voice rose above the rest. He began praying and praising God for his mercy on our family that night. 

His words echoed my heart.

I praise you God.

– – – – – – – – – – 

I recognize that our story ended well that night. Other’s do not. I am still humbled by that fact.

We could have lost him. 

As I’ve thought back on that night and many other times in our life, it reminds me that when we put our peace and our hope in the things of this world, even good things like family, if something shakes them, then we crumble. God is the giver of all good gifts, and we can love and rejoice over them all, but we have to keep them in their rightful place. When we keep our eyes and our hearts fixed on Jesus, then if it all falls, we can still stand because our peace was not in the things of this life, our peace is Jesus. 

While the sentiment of, “Let There Be Peace On Earth” is something we should all desire, pray for and live out in our daily lives, the line, “and let it begin with me” falls short. There is no way that we can bring perfect peace.

But Jesus can.

Jesus came to earth to live and die for us. His death on the cross satisfied the wrath of God against our sin. When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, He allows for there to be peace between God and man. Vertical peace.

And from that vertical peace, the byproduct is horizontal peace – an inner peace within ourselves because we are trusting God in all things, and peace with others as we live out God’s love. 

In a world that promises peace if we have enough money or have the stuff or go on the best vacation, the only way we can experience real peace – perfect peace – is when we surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is peace. 

Thanks be to Him.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1.

Jesus, thank you for offering yourself to be our peace.


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