Christmas Day is about a week away, and the airwaves are filled with Christmas music. One of the major themes you hear is peace. It’s in most every traditional Christmas carol.
–Listen to what I say, pray for peace, people everywhere!
–Now ye need not fear the grave; Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!
–Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.
–And wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will to men.
–Sleep in heavenly peace.
–Peace on the earth, good will to men from heaven’s all gracious King.
–Truly He taught us to love one another, His law is love and His gospel is peace.
It’s not surprising. It’s the same song the angels sang after the announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds! To a nation who was under oppressive rule, this was the best news.
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests. (Luke 2:14 NIV)
Our world is not a place of peace. It hasn’t been since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden. With the progression of time, the world has faced increasing injustice and horrific hostility.
Jesus Himself told us it would be this way–that we would face trouble. Sometimes trouble comes in the form of the big stuff, like war, job loss, or death. Other times, it’s general life frustration–like difficult relationships within your own home or your extended family.
If you have kids, especially teenagers who are stretching their wings, you’ve got some unrest! What you really want, maybe even desperately need, is peace. You want everyone to get along. To be happy with each other. To give grace to one another.
It might be a relationship with someone at work. Or, heaven forbid, someone at church!
Christ came to bring peace.
It’s His name!
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Eventually, Christ will reign over the earth, with lasting peace for a desperate world.
In the meantime, do we get to experience peace on earth? When Jesus said that we would experience difficulty in this world, He also told us we would overcome and that we would have His peace.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
So how do we experience peace now?
Regardless of what’s going on around us, the first thing we need is peace with God. There is only one way to obtain it, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ, the Baby of Christmas. He was born to die so that we could live. (Read more here.)
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. (Romans 5:1)
Only when we are at peace with God, can we hope to have peace with others and have peace in our circumstances.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:6-8)
It all comes down to trust.
When we find ourselves wondering if there is any hope in our situation, we have to ask:
- Do we trust God?
- Do we trust God with our circumstances?
- Do we trust God with the ones we love?
I think the verse in Isaiah 26 captures the essence of the verses in Philippians 4.
We can’t trust God with our circumstances and be worried about them at the same time. It’s one or the other.We can't trust God with our circumstances and be worried about them at the same time.
Instead, God wants us to tell Him about everything that is on our hearts. And then trust Him, knowing that He has a plan. We fix our thoughts on God and all that He is. Then we experience the peace that surpasses anything we can understand.
Yes. Easier said than done. Especially when you’re in the middle of some pretty serious trouble. But the seriousness of our trouble does not change God’s ability or willingness to give us His peace. Our trust in Him is one way that the world sees that a life with Him is worth it!
When my brother, sisters, and I were tootin’ around and not making such great choices, my mom prayed. She prayed all the time, but especially when we were causing her grief. We probably still do from time to time!
The thing I remember the most is her saying, “I trust the Lord, and I trust you to the Lord. You belong to Him.”
Even though we weren’t doing the right thing, or were in questionable relationships, she was trusting that God was ruling over our circumstances and would use them for His purposes and His glory. There were some not-so-great outcomes, and she wasn’t delighted with those. But she trusted (and still trusts) God.
As a mom of my own teenagers, this is a huge challenge. Especially right now. My kids are making some important (and some very difficult) decisions. My husband and I are praying about how involved we should be in that process. So I’m asking myself the same questions.
- Do I trust God?
- Do I trust God with my child?
- Do I trust that God is working in my child’s life to accomplish His purposes in their lives? Regardless of what I see?
God is the Puzzle Master. He was working in my heart and my mind for this post–all the while knowing that I am the one who needs it–now. And that didn’t come together until 5 minutes ago.
Lord, help me trust you!!!
Where is there unrest in your life? With whom do you need peace?
The Lord rules over the floodwaters. The Lord reigns as king forever. The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace. (Psalm 29:10-11)
Even in the worst of storms, God is there. He rules over it all. He gives us the strength to endure and He gifts us with peace.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)
Will you unwrap His gift?Will you unwrap God's Christmas gift of peace?
Images: Pixabay (gazrock and PublicDomainPictures)