Posted by: glorifyhim1 | December 19, 2011

The Peace of Christmas

Christmas, to me, seems different this year. You see, with our son and daughter-in-law serving in Chile, this will be the first year that our immediate family will not be together for our Christmas celebration. Instead of anticipating when they will be coming home, I have already mailed their Christmas package in hopes that they will receive it by Christmas. Instead of preparing for their arrival, I’ve been checking email and facebook for their updates. And, as I decorate, shop for gifts, and plan menus, I keep on thinking – Christmas is going to be different this year.

But then, today, as I read the story of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2, I found solace in the familiar story of Christmas. Reading those verses penned over two thousand years ago, I realized I could practically say them from memory. I remembered reciting them in Christmas plays at church as a child, singing their message in beautiful Christmas carols year after year, and teaching them to preschoolers in Sunday School. I also remembered reading them to my own kids as they expectantly looked forward to Christmas. No matter how our celebrations differ from year to year, the reason we have Christmas is because of Jesus and that wonderful truth never changes. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).

As I read these verses, it occurred to me that regardless of how different our Christmases may be from year to year, whatever joys or trials we may face, we can still know peace at Christmas because of Jesus. Before Jesus left His disciples He told them: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). Notice the reference to My peace. This was not the usual farewell of Peace spoken by the Jews, but a promise of Jesus’ own special peace. Jesus knew that His disciples would face great difficulties, but He assured them that even in the midst of trials and troubles they could know His peace.

This Christmas I’m aware of many individuals and families who are facing great difficulties. Christmas will certainly be different for them this year as they battle sickness, injury, or loss. Yet I also know that because of Jesus each of these individuals have the promise of Christ’s peace. Paul described this peace as “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (see Philippians 4:7) and he further declared that this peace “will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

I know this to be true because I’ve experienced it. I cannot understand it, nor can I explain it, but I’ve felt it. I felt Christ’s peace when my Mom spent practically the entire month between Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital. I experienced it on those Christmases that our family gathered without loved ones who were no longer with us. I’ve felt it when we struggled financially during Christmas and when the kids were sick on Christmas day. Come to think of it, I guess most of our Christmases seem a little different from that perfect Currier and Ives kind of Christmas. Yet each year, whatever the situation, Christ blessed us with His peace.

While I cannot explain this peace, I know that it came wrapped up in Jesus on that first Christmas Day. God fulfilled prophecy and spoke to us through His Son (see Hebrews 1:1). God sent Jesus to —

  • reveal His great love for us – “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
  • save us from our sins – “And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
  • be with us – “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.'”
  • show us the Father’s way – “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18).
  • be our peace – “For He Himself is our peace…” (Ephesians 2:14a).

The prophet Isaiah stated: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3). What better time than Christmas to keep our minds and hearts stayed on Christ, to trust in Him, and to experience the peace of Christmas?

 

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

(Isaiah 9:6)

 

 

 

 

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