Most people at one time or another know what it is like to toss and turn in bed at night and unable to sleep. For whatever reason, you cannot get comfortable and relax. Often this sleeplessness occurs because something is weighing heavy on our minds. While our body tries to enter sleep, the mind will not give up its frantic thinking, worrying, or anxiety. We may take a sleep aid, count sheep, read a little, or watch television trying to make ourselves sleepy. It’s not that we are not tired, because we are. We just can’t fall to sleep.
In the classic Christmas carol, Silent Night, we sing the refrain in verse 1: “Sleep in heavenly peace.” But what does this mean? What is heavenly peace? As a people of faith, heavenly peace is found when we trust God with the stresses of our lives. In faith, we let go of all that causes us anxiety, which leads to sleeplessness, and give our problems to God. This is not always easy as we tend to want to manage life on our own. We often try to figure out everything on our own. Yet, this leads to frustration and fears, which can keep us awake at night.
Heavenly peace is about allowing heaven to enter our hearts. It is a heaven where God is on His throne and in control of everything, even that which will not let us sleep. When we make room for a heavenly perspective in our lives, then we can experience God’s peace. It is a peace that passes all understanding and allows us to face the difficulties in our lives with a calm assurance that God is in control and that we can trust in God’s care. With this heavenly peace, we can sleep.
Jesus once said,“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) God wants us to rest in Him and trust Him with our lives. Regardless of how stressful life can sometimes be, in Jesus, we can share in God’s peace, an anchor in the storms of life that reassures us that God is always with us. When we live with an awareness of God’s presence, we can live in God’s peace, both day and night. And even when our eyes close, we can sleep knowing that God is still awake, watching and working on the very things that sometimes keep us awake. Sleep in heavenly peace. What a promise! What a gift!