Peace on Earth

Tonight, like many other people, I attended a Christmas Eve service. The lights were bright and cheerful, the carols were familiar and friendly. People smiled and hugged each other, and for one brief hour we came together to be reminded of what Christmas is all about.

Peace. Peace on earth. Peace among men. Pure and simple: peace.

Within all that the preacher said about Christmas tonight, that one word carried the most weight for me.

The world is at war: Isis, racism, starvation - pick any topic you like. You can think through the state of Nepal or Haiti or the unending debate over Syrian refugees. World peace is not in view. It's not reality. And the more I see of the human heart, the more firmly I hold to the belief that humanity will not be the provider of world peace. Because while I sing at Church, with no fear for my life, others are suffering and dying for the Gospel. While I enjoy a homemade meal and go to bed safely in a warm house, others go to bed hungry, doing their best to stay warm and alive.

But this post is not to guilt myself or others, it is simply to present reality. Why? Because I look around at the faces in Church and I know that while starvation is not an issue, everyone in that room carries a burden. There are battles that every human being faces. I know the struggles my family and friends face. I know the heartache and long-suffering of the woman smiling at me as I enter Church. I know that there are people in that room who hide their anxiety with a smile and their depression with laughter. I know there are those who over-perform so that they won't let on just how insecure they feel. And I know that some can't be there because their battles confine them to their homes.

We're all at war with something or someone.

But then...Jesus.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
- Luke 2:11-14 -

With the birth of a baby, the perfect Son of God, the impossible was accomplished. Peace was given, good will was granted toward men. Peace between us and God. Peace between believers.

No more striving, no more unrighteous anger or hurt or jealousy. No more greed or lust or bitterness. Here on earth we taste it, but one day we will fully possess the peace we all long for. In Jesus we find what humanity has been searching for from the moment Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. In Jesus we find hope for what is to come, and peace in the midst of what is. And all because he loved us beyond anything we can imagine, and chose to come to earth as a tiny little baby to live and to die for us.

So as 2015 comes to an end I offer you peace. And in 2016 when the world decides to crumble over and over and over again, remember that peace is found in the midst of Harod slaughtering Jewish baby boys. Peace is found even though you may be living in exile. Peace is found in a manger, with the lowest of low shepherds looking on, and a teenage mother wondering at what God has done.

And one day peace will be made complete at the return of our victorious Savior Jesus. He is our peace and comfort, and in him we place our hope.

Merry Christmas all, and to all a good night!
Ellen


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