A little boy and a little girl were singing their favorite Christmas carol in church the Sunday before Christmas. The boy concluded “Silent Night” with the words, “sleep in heavenly beans.” His sister elbowed him, and said, “No. Not beans, peas!”
The way many of us feel by the time we are ready for Christmas; the song might just as well end with beans or peas instead of peace.
Every year when the Christmas season comes around, life can become very chaotic and stressful. We are pressured to buy gifts, put up decorations, prepare a great meal, and visit family (the list is endless) there seems to be no time to find the true meaning of Christmas.
Many Christians who don’t seem to have the outward qualities of peace.
The bestsellers on the Christian bookstore shelves seem to be about anxiety, fear, frustration and depression. If we would look at the truth surrounding the birth of Christ, we will discover the source of peace on earth.
Life has always been, and will continue to be a struggle. Even if we can somehow find peace during Christmas, it doesn’t last long.
In a “Peanuts” comic Lucy walked up to Charlie Brown just before Christmas & said to him, “Charlie Brown, since it is Christmas, I suggest that we lay aside all our differences & be friends for this season of the year.” Charlie Brown says, “That’s a great idea, Lucy, but why does it have to be just at this time of the year? Why can’t we be friends all year long?” Lucy looks at him with that look that only Lucy can get & says, “What are you, a fanatic or something?”
When the angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, they proclaimed:
“Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
What do we learn about the peace announced to the shepherds by the angels…
1 – God is glorified with the birth of this child.
Peace begins when God is glorified. Glory is the praise of man to God. God’s glory should be sung out among man for the sake of His name.
2 – Peace is spread everywhere this child is received.
When God is glorified, peace is the result. Peace is a gift that God gives man. Peace is not something that is negotiated or bargained. Peace is a gift. Peace is lived out among man for the sake of His name.
3 Kinds of Peace:
- Peace with God – Romans 5:1
- Peace in your soul – Philippians 4:6-7
- Peace with others – Romans 12:18
Peace always begins with God’s glory and our surrender. Peace is a Person. “Jesus Himself is our Peace.” (Eph. 2:14).
The point of creation and redemption is God’s glory and man’s peace. The key to peace is keeping these two together: Glory to God and Peace to Man. How do you hold them together: God gets the glory and we get peace.
We must trust God to find this peace. When we believe we have peace. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that ye may about in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13).
There once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains that were all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.
The other picture had mountains too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest ……….. perfect peace.
The King chose the second picture. Do you know why? “Because,” explained the King, “peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek; To be consoled as to console; To be understood as to understand; To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
– St. Francis of Assisi
In 1914, Pope Benedict called for a Christmas truce during World War 1. The idea was rejected. But on Christmas Eve, in opposing trenches Christmas carols were sung together in different languages. Then soldiers began to emerge calling out “Merry Christmas” in their native language. Other joined. Over the course of the day, troops exchanged cigarettes, food, buttons, hats. The truce allowed them to bury their dead comrades together, some had laid for weeks on “no man’s land” between the trenches. The phenomenon took different forms across the western front. A British solider had his hair cut by a German barber. Some had a pig roast. Others mentioned a soccer game with make-shift balls. As many as 100,000 soldiers enjoyed the one day of peace. Yet, for most the war started back up the following day. One soldier remembered, “It was a short peace in a terrible war.”
I hope you have peace this Christmas.
Or you can read more Gifts of Christmas.