We have entered Christmas week, the most joyous holiday of the year as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, the one who is called the “Prince of Peace.”
The trees have been trimmed. Cards have been sent. Presents are being bought and wrapped and familiar carols are being sung like “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”
And mild and sweet their songs repeat
of peace on earth good will to men.
Peace is something we all want — freedom from worry, a quiet and calm state of mind, agreement and harmony among people. It’s a word that has become synonymous with Christmastime.
I thought how; as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
However, the world is — as it was when the poem from which this carol was taken — anything but peaceful. Americans are shouting at each other in our streets. There is mistrust among neighbors and races. Broken families are fighting over who gets the children on this and every other holiday.
And in despair I bowed my head,
“There is no peace on earth,” I said.
Terrorists attacks have become all too familiar and are occurring around the world.
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on peace on earth, good will to men.
Where is this peace that we hear so much about?
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
But some wonder “Where is God?”
The wrong shall fail,The right prevail,
With peace on earth good will to men.”
Today, here in the United States, many are calling right “wrong” and wrong “right.” It is little wonder that we have lost this peace we long for. The question is not where is God, but where are we?
Let us go back to those familiar words the angels sang the night of Christ’s birth recorded in Luke 2:14, and we will find that the peace they spoke about was conditional. “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
It is interesting how many Christmas cards paraphrase that greeting and leave those all important words out. Biblical peace is not simply the absence of war or strife in one’s life. It is the active experience of living in harmony with God, not a god of our creation that we can mold and shape to fit society’s norms at any given time in history, but the God of the Bible, with His moral absolutes expressed in the Ten Commandments and lived out through the example of His Son.
No human being is capable of living in perfect harmony with God. When sin entered the world through man’s disobedience, strife and conflict became our companions. However, it is possible to have inner peace by accepting His Christmas gift to the world, Jesus Christ, the Savior who came to pay the price for our sins.
The Jews were expecting a savior that would deliver them from the Roman’s rule. Others hoped that Jesus would deliver them from physical ailments because he healed the sick wherever he went. However, His mission was much greater than that. He offers us so much more than relief from war or political or physical challenges.
When Jesus’ work on earth was finished He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
The peace Jesus spoke about is total and profound. It does not depend on circumstance. It is the assurance that no matter what we face on earth, He will see us through it. And when our life is over, He will be there to take us by the hand.
By recognizing our need for Him and accepting this indescribable gift, we can live forever and experience His everlasting peace. In order to do this, we must unwrap this gift — invite him in to live through us. Peace, true peace, is always the product of God’s involvement in our lives.
Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!
Don’t miss His indescribable gift that is waiting for you — the real peace of Christmas, a peace that passes all understanding.