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Peace On Earth?

People focus on peacefulness at Christmas. The carols, the stories, the traditions, and the cards, are reminders of one of the significant meanings Bethlehem brings. Christmas recalls the birth of Jesus our Savior, and the peace He brought, but peace is not always a priority in the Christmas season. Trees and houses are decorated, Luke 2 is read, carols are sung, gifts are exchanged, pleasantries are passed around, more calories are consumed than needed, football games are viewed, and families reunite. New memories are made while old memories are pondered.

Then, the season concludes and Christmas is over. The tree is put away or laid out for the trash. Decorations that adorned the premises no longer seem to fit in the box they came out of. New workout regimens are promised and the busyness of getting on with life after Christmas begins. Significantly, the nativity scene is boxed up and put away; the words and meaning of Silent Night, Holy Night fade away. Peace has been the last thing many people experienced for Christmas, and if so, it was a fleeting phantom as normal lifestyles kick in after the holidays. Not exactly the picture God intended for us today when “the Word became flesh.”

On the night Jesus was born, there were those whose lives were just as busy, just as crazy, as ours are today. God sent Jesus into a peace-less world to be peace without boundaries. Not peace for the moment, not peace in certain circumstances, not peace that exists while being around only those one is comfortable with, but a peace that surpasses all understanding … a peace that He exhibited in His life and a peace that should be ever-present in the life of the believer.

God sent Jesus into a peace-less world to be peace without boundaries.

The peace that is traditionally equated with the manger scene in Bethlehem is only the beginning. As far as a life experience, Bethlehem for Jesus was in stark contrast to what He experienced later in His life, in Gethsemane, and especially on Calvary. The full humanity of Christ in the manger in Bethlehem hung with Him on the cross, and between these two events, Jesus was bombarded with peace-robbing circumstances. Yet He did not waiver. He slept during the storm, peacefully. He took His time journeying to Bethany, peacefully. He dealt with enormous crowds of hungry people with little food and peacefully fed them. Time and time again the peace that surrounded the confines of His birth appeared in His everyday life. Even on the cross, being physically ravaged, His heart was in perfect peace.

In a world where peace is something scarce, if not nonexistent, Christians have the opportunity to make a difference; if not in the world, then in their homes, their offices, the organizations to which they belong. Christmas is not a peaceful time for many, but for the Christian, peace is not really an option. One may choose not to be at peace, but it is what it is … a choice.

Let us choose peace! In a world where nations war against each other; in a country where our own leadership is at odds; at a time when souls are ragged because of the economy, the future, the circumstances, let us choose the peace that we sing about, that we read about in Scripture, that we pray for, and let peace rule in our hearts.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jn 1:1)

… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest upon His shoulders; And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Is 9:6)

… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. And the spirit of the Lord will rest on Him …(Is 11:1)

But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel, His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity. (Micah 5:2)

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign; Behold a virgin, will be with child and bear a son, and she will call his name Immanuel. (Is 7:14)

And she gave birth to her first born son; and wrapped him in clothes and laid Him in a manger, for there was no room for them in the inn. (Lk 2:7)

… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us!

And he is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. (Col 1:15-17)

… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him (Is 53:2)

… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell on Him, and by His scourging we are healed. (Is 53:4-5)

… and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering. (Is 53:10) For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross…(Col 1: 19-20)

… It is finished. (Jn 19:30)

And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain, because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. And this One will be our peace. (Micah 5:4-5)

… Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. (Jn 14:27)

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Paul Stutz

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