Adapted from Advent readings prepared 12/2018 for The HUB Church, Roseville CA
When we think of Christmas, we usually envision a portrait of peace and tranquility: a remote cozy cabin, logs burning in the fireplace, pine trees clothed with a dusting of fresh snow. All is calm, all is bright: we gravitate toward the idea of peace at Christmas. But our lives this time of year often don’t reflect the perfect peace that was promised with Christ’s coming. In our attempts to experience all that Christmas has to offer, the season can so easily turn into a harried frenzy of overbooked schedules and overspent bank accounts. What we really hunger for at Christmas is Jesus and his perfect peace; because it’s not Christmas that gives us rest, but Christ who came to live among us.
That first Christmas, a Holy God joined a wandering people in their broken world. Peace did not arrive the way they expected it to arrive, with a cease fire or a diplomatic meeting of the nations but through a newborn baby in a makeshift cradle. Peace was not ushered in by a King who displayed His power and might for all to see but by a King who took on a tiny heartbeat and the flesh of one of the most fragile of His creatures. The first Christmas was the picture of perfect peace because the child in the manger was the answer to all the promises of God since the beginning of mankind.
Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Peace is the overflow of the heart that says, “It is well with my soul.” Peace means all is as it should be and there is no question or doubt. When we read that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, we learn just Who He is: the God of “be still and know.” He is in the gentle whisper, the still small voice. He is peace not because he can be contained or silenced but because He is everything that is just, right, and perfect. Peace is attainable because Jesus is attainable to us—and Jesus is ours because a good Father sent His Son, so that in Him we may have peace. Immanuel – God with us – made peace possible at Christmas.
Father, so often our busy and hectic lives seem to be devoid of Your peace. We know that you are never a God of disorder, and sometimes the state of the world, our relationships and our own struggles lead us to unrest in our thoughts and our hearts. Help us to take every thought captive to Christ and remind us that through the troubled waters of this life, Jesus himself is our peace, our advocate, and our counselor. Allow us to seek the peace that surpasses understanding, and forever seek Jesus. Amen.