Peace, we all want it. Peace in our world, in our community, in our families and especially, peace in our hearts. Why is it that something so universally desired is so elusive? Open a newspaper, turn on the news – wars, riots family breakdown, mental health issues seem to dominate, but no sign of peace.
This is not what God intended, he created a world where people lived in peace and harmony with each other, with the environment and with him. It didn’t last because humans rejected God, they became self-centered and self- willed. “I’ll do it my way”, was their catch cry. Peace and harmony were gone, there was pain and sorrow, anger and hatred.
But God did not give up on us. He promised that one day the Prince of Peace would come and make true peace possible. Jesus Christ was that promised one.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
At his birth the angels sang, “Glory to God and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” Throughout his ministry Jesus brought peace and healing into broken lives and broken bodies. Yet selfish, power hungry men rejected him and crucified him.
But God’s plan was not destroyed, Jesus rose from the dead! The first thing he said to his confused and frightened disciples when they were gathered together after his resurrection was, “Peace be with you”. He also said, “My peace I leave with you.” Jesus said that his peace was different, it was not just an intervention in human affairs but a changing of people’s hearts and transforming their lives.
How? We must decide to stop rebelling against God and his rightful claims over us and ask him to forgive us. We must ask Jesus to start running our lives in his way. In his love and goodness, he does forgive us and makes us his friends, then we have ‘peace with God that is beyond understanding’.
But there is more, he begins to live with us and in us in transforming power – he gives us a new heart, a heart of love and compassion. He takes from us the anger, the jealousy, the fear, the self-centeredness that cause most of the tensions we have in ourselves and with others. He gives us joy and he gives us peace. That peace can be yours this Christmas.