How the birth of Jesus offers all of humanity peace
Last week we began our Advent series by looking at ‘Hope’. This week we focus on peace. There’s a certain irony to the fact that ‘Peace’ is so central to the Christmas message and yet so far from the Christmas experience.
For all too many, Christmas has become one of the most stressful times of the year. We feel compelled to buy people presents, spend money we don’t have, see family we’d rather avoid, and find ourselves swamped with food preparations. It is little wonder that so many people genuinely hate Christmas. Especially those who don’t have family and find it the loneliest time of the year.
All on all, these ingredients don’t make up for Christmas being a very peaceful time. So, if there’s little we can do to reduce all of our various Christmas obligations, are there ways we can at least increase the chances of peace breaking through into our lives this season?
Whilst it is true that all the various factors I’ve mentioned above do steal from our sense of peace at Christmas, the reality is that peace is related to much deeper realities. Every human being has deep, soul cravings that permeate our beings that we can never escape from. We may try and bury them or ignore them, but we can never truly break free. We have deep, embedded desires for a sense of meaning, and understanding of our purpose, and a need for intimacy. It is these three things that truly affect our peace.
And these are the things that Jesus came to earth speak into: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. The greatest peace we can ever know is peace with God. Other factors, like we’ve mentioned, affect our day-to-day sense of peace, but the true peace that we need this Christmas-time is the peace that comes from knowing God. And this is a peace that, as the Scripture above says, ‘surpasses all understanding’.
Perhaps one of the most important things we can do this Christmas is to take some time away from all the Christmas busyness to think about the story of Jesus and what it means. Taking that time out will give us both some welcome relief from all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, and free us to allow those deeper longings of our souls to surface and, who knows, find some sense of peace through to story of the Baby who would become the Man who would open the door for each and everyone of us know God and our place and purpose in this world.