I think most of us can agree that this year has been difficult for various reasons and probably one of the last adjectives or emotions that would come to mind is that of “peace” or “peacefulness”, which is why I believe it is terribly important to talk about it. In that same passage from Luke 2 where the Angels visited the shepherds they talk about Joy, they also talk about Peace. This is where we get the line “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men”. So was all that just hopeful poetry that has been unrealized? Given all the wars, famines, strife, conflict, abuse, oppressions, and depression that has went on in the two millennia since the birth of Christ one might think so. Before we write off Luke as overly optimistic here, let us do what we have to do with so many other things, change our perspective.
You see, most of when we think of Peace we think of quiet, solitude, and an absence of conflict. A nice sunny day, not a dark and stormy day. While that is true, it is not descriptive of the peace that the Angels speak of here. In fact this idea of peace is one that is maybe better understood as security. After all, what brings about peace better than knowing you are safe and secure? In this instance the coming of Christ is a reminder of God’s unconditional love, His drawing near to us that we may be near Him, and His faithfulness. In a world where there is no one you can count on and everything fails at some point the God of the universe says I AM here, I love you, and I want to be in relationship with you, so much so that I AM breaking into time and the Word became flesh (Human) and dwelt among us. So now because of what God did through Jesus, we can now be restored in our relationship with Him. We no longer have to run the gauntlet of laws and sacrifices to atone for our sins and find peace with God because God has done that for us. We no longer have to worry about eternity because God has done that for us. We no longer have to worry about being distant from God because He has come near to us. We no longer have to worry about our future because God has sealed us, holds us in His hand, we have been purchased by Him and we have an inheritance laid up for us by Him, and nothing in this universe can take that away. No matter what happens to you, to me, how bad, dark, dismal, disappointing, or difficult life here gets, those things are assured. We have to remember that this world with all its troubles are merely temporary but what we have with God is eternal. Its kind of like being in a storm shelter in the middle of a storm. Yes its violent and raging around you, but because of where you are at, you are safe and because you know you are safe you can rest easy and be at peace. No matter the storms that rage around us in this world, we know we are held safely in His hand and because of that we can rest and be at peace.
I do hope this Christmas season you are able to reflect on this idea of peace and take comfort in know that the God who created this Universe loves you unconditionally and holds you close. That through Jesus, this little baby who’s birth we celebrate, God came to Earth that we might know Him and experience His love and in return give our love to Him. Let this message of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace resonate with you during this season and for the year to come. Merry Christmas.