Each year on September 21, many people around the world commemorate the “International Day of Peace.” Organizers encourage every person on earth to observe one minute of silence at noon in his or her time zone in the hope of creating a “peace wave” of sorts.
Many organizations around the world focus on promoting peace. For instance, the World Peace Prayer Society, headquartered in New York, sponsors the Peace Pole Project. Begun in Japan in 1955, this effort has encouraged the planting of thousands of Peace Poles in over 100 countries. Each Peace Pole is handcrafted and inscribed with this message: May Peace Prevail on Earth. The inscription is written in the language of the country in which the Peace Pole is planted and in several additional languages as well.
We all long for world peace. We all hope for peaceful relationships in our nation and in our neighborhoods. Peace is a commendable goal, beneficial to our well-being.
But if we are honest, we must admit that the peace we crave is more personal. We long for an inner peace that cannot be purchased at Walmart. We long for a peace that vacation time in a secluded hideaway cannot ensure, a peace that circumstances cannot spoil.
The Christmas angels announced Jesus’ birth in this proclamation:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace (Luke 2:14 KJV)!
Do you ever ask yourself, though, “Where is that peace?” The hubbub of Christmas decorating, shopping, wrapping, obligatory get-togethers, and more leaves us little time to pursue the peace for which we yearn. We sing, “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” But is it? Can any of us even remember the last time peace played a prominent role in any news report?
When we wonder about this, we need to take a step back. We need to remind ourselves that the peace the angels announced came in the person of Jesus. That peace still comes to us today in the person of Jesus!
Jesus came to bring peace between our sinful selves and God. No matter how hard we try, we cannot clean ourselves up. Our very best self on our very best day is stained with sin. That unkind word. That hateful look. That lustful thought.
By our sins, we have built a barrier between ourselves and a holy God. But God wants a relationship with us! In a love too big to imagine, our heavenly Father gave up heaven’s most precious treasure so that our sins could be washed away, so that our relationship could be restored, so that we could have eternal peace. The Bible says . . . (Read Jeremiah 31:3.)
In kindness, Jesus came to earth as our Savior. God’s Son showed us just how much God loves each one of us. Jesus’ birth—along with his life, death, and resurrection—reveals just how much God wants us to be at peace with him. Jesus healed the lame, the blind, the lepers, and more. He cast out demons. He demonstrated his authority over storms. Most of all, he brought forgiveness and peace into individual lives.
As Jesus prayed on the night before he died. The prayer of his heart was that we would “be one” with him, one with the Father, and one with each other (John 17). Jesus prayed for true unity, for the peace that surpasses anything we can even understand!
The next day, Jesus purchased for us eternal peace with God. He died on a rough-hewn cross as our substitute, shedding his blood, taking the punishment for sin we deserve, and rising again to prove that his sacrifice was sufficient. The debt of our sin has been paid—in full! (Read 1 Peter 3:18.)
We recognize our helplessness. We know that we cannot forge our own path to a peaceful relationship with God. Jesus is that path. Faith in Jesus is the one and only way to peace with God. Jesus is the provider of eternal peace—not just an inner feeling, but an ongoing reality. Jesus brings . . .
- peace . . . that is unparalleled.
- peace . . . that does not ebb and flow depending on the pressures of the moment.
- peace . . . even in times of peril, because we know our lives are in the hands of our heavenly Father. (Read Psalm 29:11 and John 10:29.)
- peace . . . because the Lord hears and answers the prayers of his children. (Read Psalm 34:15.)
Jesus was the first Christmas present ever given. As you give gifts to others this season, celebrate God’s gift of peace to you—peace and life that come by faith in Jesus, the Savior.
True peace on earth begins with peace in our own hearts, but it doesn’t stop there! Just as the angels proclaimed this peace, we, too, can share God’s love and peace with others.
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