Whenever anyone asked my grandmother what she wanted for Christmas, her answer was always, “Peace.” It was really frustrating trying to get a straight answer out of her, but now that I think about it… peace may be the best thing to get for Christmas.
Here’s how Webster’s defines peace:
It’s a state of tranquility and quiet.
It is freedom from oppressive or disquieting thoughts or emotions.
It is harmony in personal relationships.
Who wouldn’t want some of that?
Isaiah prophesied the birth of Christ. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6.
So why don’t we have all those things like tranquility?
Is Jesus a poor gifter? Hardly. But something I see in myself from time to time is a tendency to make the gospel (and everything else) about me and my needs. I usually focus on making my life easier in this moment. My focus, my vision is extremely short-sighted and narrow. Jesus’s vision is much, much greater.
What about the idea that peace is the cessation of hostilities between warring parties.
In the course of human history, we’ve seen almost as many “peace” treaties as we have wars. And yet, idealists still dream, politicians still promise and activists still work tirelessly to achieve peace and the security that comes with it. It’s a noble goal. As wonderful as it would be to live in a world without violence and conflict, if that’s the peace we are after, it is ascribing a much lesser purpose to Jesus’s mission.
In Romans 5:10, Paul explains that we were enemies of God’s.
Think about that for just a minute. WE. That’s you. And me. Enemies. Of GOD. That’s terrifying. And it’s hopeless. I have nothing to offer in the negotiations. Nothing. But Jesus gave His peace. Not like the regular kind. Not like the kind I think I want. His peace.
You see, while I’m fussing because Jesus let me have a bad day, or while I’m looking around at the state of the world and wondering if He’s even paying attention, He’s trying to get me to see those are symptoms. People don’t have peace internally, individually or globally because they don’t grasp what kind of peace they so desperately need. Believers are unsettled because we lose sight of the magnitude of the peace we’ve been given.
Jesus came to bring peace, eternal peace, with the sovereign King and Lord of the universe. Christmas set the final phase in motion to bring us that peace. He gave it to us.
Those are good tidings of great joy.