At Christmas time, you see the word “peace” written a lot. It is written on cards, you see it in shopping centres and in the community. It is often the time when people talk about peace in this world ..or the lack of.
Is peace just one thing, or it is many things to many people?
Ask those in war torn areas of the world – they would say that peace is the absences of war, the ability to have freedoms that should be the right of every human on the face of this earth.
As a businessman/woman – they would say that peace is the stock market steady and income coming in. They would also say that peace is happy customers and happy staff.
Ask a man or a father – they may say that peace is sitting quietly with no interruptions, or pottering in the shed with their own thoughts. They could also say that a having a happy wife is peace.
Ask a mum or a woman – they may say that peace is when the children are asleep of a night. Or when the house is clean and tidy and there is some quiet “me time”. They might also say that when hubby and children are fed, then peace reigns.
Ask a teenager what is peace – They may say that it is when they can stay in their room and not get annoyed by younger siblings, parents, teachers …or life.
Ask what peace is to those that protest for the rights of others – they would say that having rights is peace, or the removal of dictatorial governments, or even the rights of animals will bring order and peace.
Is this the peace of Christmas?
I have 5 teen and pre-teen boys in this house at the moment. They are asleep. It is peaceful at the moment and soon it won’t be as they wake and look for food. One might say that I have peace at the moment, but soon voices will interrupt my peace and my thoughts and I won’t be able to finish this piece of writing.
Is peace so temporary that we think of it so elusively? Is this the peace that God offered to us?
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
Isaiah in his prophecy about Jesus referred to the coming Messiah as the “Prince of Peace”. Is 9:6
So, what is this peace all about.?
A lot of people think that if God were truly God then peace would be on this earth, that babies would not die and people would not suffer. I have met a lot of Christians who think that Christ came to make their world better. That He came to make their world a more peaceful place to live. That God would miraculously change the world simply because there are now Christians on this earth. Is this how we really think?
Why would God send His Son and not change the world? Why wouldn’t a God of peace cause enormous amounts of peace to an unpeaceful world?
Let me create a scenario for you – Jake and Jack are two neighbours in a little town called Horseshoe Bend. Jake loves animals and he has 5 acres of land to which he made into a sanctuary for himself and his wonderful animals. Peace is over all and Jake is at peace. Jack moves next door. Jack loves his vegie garden. He has bought his 5 acers for the ability to grow hydroponics. He busily starts building and making and doing stuff, all the while singing and whistling. Plants start to grow and Jack is happily in garden paradise. Do you get where I am heading?
Jake’s peace s destroyed. His dogs are not a peace over the whistling and singing. The terrified animals do not like the sawing and hammering. The snakes and lizards that were living in the former bushland have now taking up residence in Jakes back yard and bushland. Jake is no longer at peace, and he resents Jack for destroying his peace.
Jack on the other hand knows nothing until a letter comes from his local council, and suddenly realise that his crops are dying for not reason. Jack is now not at peace and he seeks to do something about it.
Jake receives and letter from the council and get a visit from the RSPCA. Next come a visit from the police and guess what…
A war has started over the lack of peace, and the Horseshoe Bend will be the place for the struggle for the right to have…peace.
While you may smile at the scenario we could use this type of scenario in relationships, workplaces marriages and churches (surely not!!)
The peace we often seek is both self-serving and external. It is peace at all costs and superficial.
Peace that only reigns at Christmas is not peace. It is only a temporary ceasefire.
Is this the peace that is the awesome promise of an Almighty and loving God?
I think not.
God never intended that His Son should come, live and die for so little. Did God do so much so that I, and I alone, would be at peace? Did He live and died for only me, so that I alone should have peace and life? He didn’t bring peace just for me so that I could be at peace. So having peace around me is not what God intended.
This world is becoming worse, not better. People love war and fighting, especially if it is to get what we think is best. Even in Jesus day they hated Him. They despised what He was trying to do – He was trying to tell the world that God did truly love the world and each and every one of us could change. Jesus was the testimony of that.
Later, the disciples told the world that Jesus had come to bring life and peace to the hearts of man. They hated them too.
This world is made up of hatred, greed, sin, and sorrow. Did God mean for this world to be so hard on the very concept of peace?
All that God did for us by sending His Son to this earth as a babe, was to give to each one of us a peace of heart that is with us no matter what is around us. It is the “peace that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) You cannot explain it, you can’t bottle it and drink it when needed and it is seen in it’s true light during the hardest times in our lives.
Yet there is this. If every man, woman, and child on this earth had the true peace of God, loves others and loved God… then peace would truly be on this earth. Isn’t that the good tides that Christ’s birth announced?
Peace could come to you and me… in our hearts. Deep down inside us. And from this should flow out to others around us. Not seeking to change them, but being a light and a movement and a change for the better in a world that does not seek peace.
Religions says go and find peace and there you will find God. God says come to me and I will give you peace. Religion may also tell you that if you don’t have peace, you don’t have God.
I have been through some battles and still have many to go. The peace that I have had during those times can only be of God. Just like being in the boat with Jesus the disciples learnt that they could trust the Master. I am learning that the peace that God brings sometimes requires me to trust Him until He stills the storm, or to hang on to Him if He doesn’t.
Peace should not only be for after the storm, but in the storm. This is the promise of God.
The tiny babe of Christmas, Jesus Christ, was to allow the hearts of man to have peace not influenced by circumstances, not because of where I live, not because of the “I-am-better-then-you-therefore-I-have-more”. It is not conditional, cannot be bought and cannot be sold.
God gave His best, so that we could have the peace that we really crave.
There are so many wonderful scriptures in the bible that tell us what peace is…even peace with our neighbours. Peace is a good subject, even when it is not Christmas. It is even a better if we have peace with others and with God.
God gives peace. He is peace. It is another facet of God that He is. There was a little ditty I read once – “Know God, know peace. No God, no peace.”
I have heard so many testimonies on this very subject of peace, a peace that is far above our own understanding or eyesight. If you tried to explain it, people have trouble understanding it. My testimony is the same. God is good.
God gives peace when your marriage falls apart, God gives peace when someone close to you leaves this world, God gives peace when people accuse you and tell lies against you, God gives you peace when everything seems to go wrong. God is peace, He gives peace. Do you believe? Then ask for it and accept it.
My prayer for you this Christmas is this. That the peace of God may be given to you in your hearts and that God would strengthen you in your inner being.
If you don’t know this Jesus of our Christmas, and would like to, then say this prayer –
“Jesus, I don’t know you, but you know me. I am sorry for the way I have lived my life and I cannot do this anymore. I give you my life, forgive me for my sins and take them from me. Thank you for saving me, thank you for the change you will make in my heart. Bring your peace and joy to me and make yourself known to me. Thank you. Amen”
Please go and get a Holy Bible and read it, start with an NIV version or a NLT version (as these are easy to read). Start it by reading about Jesus, can I encourage you to start with the book of Luke in the bible and the book of Psalms. Start to find a church family where you feel comfortable and that teaches the Word of God. Ask God to show you where to go.