“In Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” – Jesus
Last week, I gained a new appreciation for Christmas and all it means. It happened in the middle of the night. I had traveled to another state, and was asleep in a nice hotel room. But nice can change in a twinkling, even around 1 a.m. I awoke with a start. A couple yelled at each other just outside my door. Expletives and accusations flew. Should I call the front desk, or 911? Mercifully, after a few long minutes a slammed door ended the chaos.
How sad. What could cause such torment that this couple would forfeit any consideration for each other, and the people around them? The contrast with Christmas was startling. They had punctuated this season of love and giving with selfishness and dissension.
Shepherds were minding their business in a nice pasture. In a twinkling, an angel and a multitude of the heavenly host pierced the night. Their announcement was short. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Of all the transcendent meaning packed into that, it also offers a reason not to scream in a hotel hallway. Peace on earth means peace to you for whatever your circumstances might be.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining,” the carol says. To that world the angels announced the birth of Jesus who was the embodiment of peace. One Bible word for peace is “shalom,” which means to be whole, at rest, tranquil. As a man, that is what Jesus displayed and offered to His followers even though He knew crucifixion awaited Him the next day. He said, “Peace I leave you; My peace I give you” (John 14:27). After His death He visited them saying, “Peace with you” (John 20:19). Jesus clearly understood that you need peace, especially with God. In fact, “He Himself is our peace” (Eph. 2:14).
What does Christmas mean to you? By faith, do you know the peace of Christ? If you do, then you have a peace that can displace the angst of elections, fears of COVID, and the loneliness of memories. You have a deep pool of resources to help you recall the past with tranquility and face the future with confidence. The world offers much tribulation. But when you, friend, find your place in the Peace of Christmas, it changes your outlook in this life because your soul is reconciled to its Creator for eternity. Isn’t that merry?
The angels announced it. The shepherds witnessed it. “O night divine, O night when Christ was born!” The world would never be the same, for in that first Christmas God stepped into the world He created to bring His Peace to you.