PEACE AT CHRISTMAS


Here’s one from Lee! -anita

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Some of my favorite Christmas carols talk about peace at this special time of year. Songs like Hark the Herald Angels, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, O Holy Night, and others all mention the peace that comes with Christmas, the peace that comes, ultimately, with Christ.

What is this peace that the carols proclaim? The Bible talks about “peace” in several contexts. Foremost, it is peace with God Himself [Rom 5:1-11] While we were yet sinners and enemies of God, Christ died for us.

Christ also brings an inner peace. In John 14:27, Jesus says that He brings peace that we should not be afraid. Colossians 3:12-15 talks about peace within the body of believers. And we who are believers in Almighty God are called to live in peace with the world around us. See James 3:17-18, Romans 14:19, and Hebrews 12:14. Interestingly, in one Bible commentary I read, it notes that there is no promise in the NT of peace among nations.  Nations and kingdoms will be at war. [MT 24:6-7]

So peace is pervasive and touches all of our relationships, even that with God. One Bible commentary puts it: “Biblically, peace is no mere absence of strife but the active experience of a harmony that promotes total well-being.”

It seems to me that peace is a function of our active intent. Like the old song says: “let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” We can choose to love those around us and even love our God. Of course, we love because He first loved us. Meaning that “love,” and its close associate, “peace,” are both gifts from God. As someone has said, no one can give themselves the peace of God. It is a gift. “Now may the Lord of Peace [one of the many names of Jesus] Himself give you peace at all times in every way.” [II Thess 3:16]

You may ask, how do I get this peace that God promises? As has been discussed many times in this blog, the driving force behind all aspects of our relationship with Him is TRUST. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” [Is 26:3] So peace begins with trust; trust in the One who has the power to provide peace and safety. “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.” [John 16:33] And, as we talked about in church last Sunday, abiding in Him is relational. We need to include the Lord in our day, our thoughts, our successes, our problems and issues. As the Isaiah verse above states, our mind needs to be stayed on God.

Everyone wants peace. But what the world has in mind comes from a false hope: that men can learn to live together in peace because they will want to. But the Bible is clear—and the history of mankind bears this out—man alone cannot initiate peace. It must come from God, just like every good thing!

Lee Pierce

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