Advent 4 - Peace

life of jesus Dec 25, 2023
 

Welcome to Advent 2024, as we focus on Jesus, the Reason for the Season.

We started with Hope. Then Love, and yesterday the word was Joy. Today, it's Peace

Peace doesn't come naturally to us. It did in the garden, but when Adam and Eve decided to ignore the words of God, they set the pattern - and the destination - for all of us. Since then, the moments of peace have been rare.

Jesus came to bring a peace which is impossible without him. It's impossible because it's a standard we are incapable of attaining on our own, based upon having a peaceful relationship with the One who created us. If we are at war with Him, we will never experience peace.

The Psalmist wrote, "The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace" (Psalm 29:11). It makes me realize that peace, in fact, requires strength, and that strength come from the Lord himself.

Peace is not just the absence of strife. It is a positive presence of contentment, fulfillment, and satisfaction. Let me break those down a little bit.

You can't have a great marriage if you never disagree because you never talk to one another. You don't have a great relationship with your kids if you are never in touch. There may be no contentiousness, but that's because really, there's nothing there. You are strangers.

So you say, "I could live in peace if the only ones I ever spent time with were me, myself, and I." The problems come when you try living in a relationship, in a family, in community, or anywhere else where there are other people.

It sounds obvious, but the truth is that we all have inner conflicts - we aren't even living in peace with ourselves! Throw in a few disappointments and regrets over the years, a few broken promises and missed expectations, and our self-talk can be devastating. We can find ourselves being our own worst critics, saying things within our own heads that we wouldn't dare (I hope) say out loud about anyone else. Where is the peace in that?

The fact is that we are conflicted persons who are often at war with ourselves, our expectations, and our addictions. How many battle depression, pornography, alcohol, substance abuse, anger, selfishness, obsessions…

There is only one way to experience peace, and that is to know the Prince of Peace. But we do have to know the truth about Him. He is the holy, perfect, author of life itself, and he knows you better than you know yourself. And yet, He chose to love you as you are, but too much to leave you are you are.

So he encourages us - you were worth dying for! So was I! Not because I feel it, but because I know it. And knowing that brings peace - experiencing that brings peace. The peace of knowing that no matter how many times we have messed up in this life, when we come to him in our brokenness, he binds our wounds and brings healing.

The peace of our world will never begin by a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, the US and the Taliban, Russia and Ukraine, democrats and republican, or conservatives and liberals. It begins in the hearts of billions of people, which means it begins with me. And you.

 

During this Christmas season, look again at the miracle of the birth of Jesus, as the Prince of Peace left the glory of heaven to come into our world as a tiny baby. Try to imagine your life as residing in that infant, with all the promise and possibilities that a newborn brings. Put your life into his hands, and experience the blessing that comes with surrender.

Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalm 29:11

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