Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . as members of one body. . . . And be thankful.
— Colossians 3:15
My grandmother Natalia was one of the most peaceful persons I have ever met. I recall that as a young boy I often took her kind personality for granted. Looking back on her life now, I cannot help wondering how she managed to escape bitterness and resentment throughout her life.
Her younger years on a collective farm in Russia were tough. In her teens she endured the war, Nazi occupation, hunger, hard labor, and suffering. Later, after moving to a city, she was injured in a work-related accident and lost the use of her right hand. Even so, she remained cheerful and thankful to the end. How can this be?
There’s an answer in today’s Bible reading. The apostle Paul talks about the Christian calling to peace and thanksgiving. For him, these attitudes do not depend on happy life experiences or special training. Peace and thanksgiving come through Christ alone.
When Christ’s peace rules in our hearts, it changes us and our view of the world. It gives us strength to meet our challenges with grace and humility. And no matter what—we are called to be thankful.
I’m convinced that my grandmother had the peace of Christ in her heart. Each of us can experience this peace too, if we humble ourselves before God. Do you have this peace?
Heavenly Father, help us to humble ourselves and receive the peace of Christ. Teach us how to reflect your peace in this world with grace and thanksgiving. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.