“Peace on Earth” is a phrase that seems to pop up everywhere at Christmas. Sadly, our world is far from being at peace. Even personally, many of us struggle to find true peace with the challenges and disappointment we face.
Last week I blogged about the first candle of Advent which represents hope. Peace is the second candle of Advent. Some traditions call this the Bethlehem Candle reminding us of that first announcement of Christ’s coming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:14).
The word peace in Hebrew is shalom meaning “wholeness or completeness.” This is a peace that comes from God. It’s a peace that saturates our entire life. Paul put it this way: “May the Lord of Peace Himself give you peace always in every way!” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).
As we prepare for Christmas, God offers us three kinds of peace.
- Internal Peace (Peace with God)
Peace begins in the heart. The problem is that we all have sinned. That’s why Jesus came, to bring us back to God. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been or how bad we feel, God can bring peace into our lives. Peace is a gift from God. Peace with God is not something we have to do, it’s something that Jesus has already done when he died on the cross. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
- External Peace (Peace with Others)
Of all the things that can rob our peace this Christmas it’s people. Ever ask, “Why can’t we just get along?” Once we know His peace, we are called to be peacemakers! This Christmas, God may be asking you to reach out to someone you have hurt or sinned against. Ask for their forgiveness. Sometimes, the key to peace is patience. God can give us that! No matter what the conflict may be, the Bible says this: “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).
- Eternal Peace (Peace forever) Isaiah prophesied that this child would be “The Prince of Peace” and he would bring a peace that would never end (see Isaiah 9:6-7). The greatest peace is a place. It’s called heaven. Jesus promised that he would prepare for us a place where “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
BEFORE YOU GO…
There are more than 700 verses about God’s peace in the Bible. God wants us to know His peace. Oswald Sanders once said, “Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.” As we enter this Christmas season, seek God’s peace and presence in your life! Pray for a world that desperately needs Him and His peace.