SEARCHING FOR PEACE
". . . The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’”
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house . . .” We all know that famous poem. But did you ever stop to think what the world was like the night before the first Christmas? A lot of things were hugely different. for one thing, there was no hope for anyone to find peace of mind or heart. And then the angels began to sing . . .
Well, what is peace anyway? Were the angels talking about an end to war? It would seem not. In Matt. 24:6 Jesus said: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen. . .” The truth is that war is a product of human nature. James 4:1 poses the question: “What causes wars and fights among you?" And then he answers it with another question: "Don’t they come from the lusts that war within you?” Violence and war are the natural outflow of stony ungodly hearts. Education won’t fix it. Getting to know each other better won’t fix it. Saying, “Why can’t we just get along” won’t fix it. The only thing that will fix it is a change in the human heart, and the only way for the human heart to change is for it to be yielded to the control of God. Only following Christ will fix it!
OK, maybe the angels were talking about an end to personal conflicts. After all, fostering peaceful relationships between people is part of being a Christian. Rom. 12:18 instructs us: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” But you know what? Sometimes it doesn’t depend on you. Some people just don't like what you like. Some people just don't have the values you have. And then there is the problem of sin - theirs as well as yours. And sometimes your faith in Christ is the cause of conflict! In Matt.10:35-36, Jesus declared: "I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!”
Actually, the angels were talking about the absence of condemnation – PEACE WITH GOD! They were proclaiming that Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, is the source of a new and different kind of peace. And Jesus Himself promised: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” -- Jn. 14:27. The peace that Christ gives transcends national, personal, and emotional conflicts. The peace that Christ gives is spiritual – its scope is infinite and eternal. His is the peace that “passes understanding.”
On the night before Christmas there was no peace to be found on earth. But because of Jesus that is no longer true. Do you need peace in your life? Jesus will give it to you. And it will be the best Christmas present you ever got or ever will get!
--- Pastor Keith Andrews