Merry Christmas everyone! Especially to those who will be working to keep London safe over Christmas while others are celebrating with friends or family.
For many the Christmas is a good chance for a ‘knees up’; a festival that brightens an otherwise dreary winter season, and personally I’m all for it! However there is deeper significance waiting to be discovered that, if found will revolutionize our lives.
Those of us who have young children at school or nursery may proudly watch them in Christmas nativity plays where we are likely to hear the angels say to the shepherds “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”. The angels were declaring that Jesus would bring peace, but what did that actually mean?
Peace sounds great! I mean who doesn’t want peace- peace of mind, peace in our families, peace in our communities and in the wider world?
While there is so much that is good and to be celebrated in this world, 2000 years after the birth of Jesus it is obvious that we are not experiencing universal peace on earth. There is war in Syria and in other parts of the world; there are governments that oppress and kill their own people; communities that are deeply divided; families and friends that seem incapable of being at peace and individuals who feel that peace of mind evades them.
Jesus told his followers that there would still be wars and division. He even said there would be divisions over issues of faith, in families and that those who followed him would be persecuted. So what did the angels mean when they proclaimed that peace would come with the arrival of Jesus?
The Bible teaches that it starts with you and me, we can find peace of mind for ourselves. Through faith in Jesus we are promised immediate peace with God our maker. His peace can rule in our hearts and when we pray he promises us a peace that goes beyond human understanding. God promises to bring peace to us, meaning that we can be at peace even in desperately difficult and sad situations.
Secondly we can be God’s peace envoys to the world. We are told to be peaceful towards others. Romans 12 says “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath”.
The Bible also describes Christians as God’s ambassadors and the fragrance of God to the world. So the message of peace at Christmas is that God promises to bring us peace if we invite him in; that we can find peace with God and that through us he brings peace to others around us and to the wider world.
I hope you have a happy and peaceful Christmas.