PEACE AT CHRISTMAS?
‘Glory to God in the highest heavens and on earth peace to those upon whom his gracious favour rests’ (Luke 2:14).
So what do you want for Christmas?
One of the standard responses we often hear is ‘peace’. Year after year however the world seems further and further from being a peaceful place – this year is no exception.
It is natural that we want peace. Being peaceful is something we all value – particularly at this busy time of year. We all want to see a world where our children can live in safety and without conflict or without being exposed to conflict. Particularly at Christmas, our hope for peace on this earth is intensified.
Yet as we sing carols, eat Christmas dinner and share peace and good will with family and
friends, the ideal of ‘peace on earth’ that we long for and many of us pray for continues to seem like a ‘pipe dream’ that has little or no relevance to the world in which we live.
It is important to understand that Luke’s account of Christ’s birth was written retrospectively knowing the turmoil and chaos caused by Jesus in his ministry, his crucifixion and his resurrection. Jesus was very familiar with conflict. Strangely however, we note that peace is closely linked with his rejection [Luke 19:38] and resurrection [Luke 24:36]. This peace is not a ‘warm fuzzy what do you want for Christmas’ peace, it is a peace that does not ignore evil or retreat from it. This peace is found in the ordinary everyday events we live through where God’s power over sin and evil is evident. This is the peace we seek.
The peace that Christ gives us in his birth is a ‘robust peace’ not a ‘naive’, ‘trouble-free’ peace.
Hope for our world lies in the peace embodied in Christ, not our attempts to achieve social harmony or personal serenity. The peace present in the ‘baby Jesus’ story is the same peace present in the ‘risen-crucified Christ’.
I pray that God blesses you and your family with a robust peace this Christmas.
Mr Don Grimmett