Merry Christmas! As you open this devotion, I hope you are getting ready to spend the day with loved ones as you celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus the Christ. My hope is that there are a few presents underneath the Christmas tree that have your name on it. However, there is one gift that is essential to Christmas that won’t show up underneath your tree; it’s the gift of peace.
Have you noticed that peace shows up all throughout the Christmas story? Isaiah foretold that the Christ-child would be the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) and the angels declared “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:14). Peace is absolutely central to the Christmas story; it might even be argued that peace is the gift that Jesus came to give.
However, we have a problem with peace. When we think about the word peace, we typically only think of the absence of war or conflict, but peace means so much more than that. Peace isn’t solely passive, it’s active. The word translated peace in the English New Testament is the Greek word eiréné; which means, “to join, tie together into a whole” or “to weave back together frayed parts.” What a beautiful picture of the gift that Jesus brings; he weaves back together our frayed parts – he is the gift of peace.
There are two main ways that Jesus brings peace. First, he gives us peace with God. See, the Scriptures are clear that apart from Jesus, we are God’s enemies – we’re at war with him. However, through faith, we are reunited with him and our frayed relationship with the Almighty is made whole. Paul captured this truth in Romans 5:1 when he wrote, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” What great news! However, we don’t just have peace with God, we also have peace from God. Jesus is the great physician. He weaves back together the fractures and pain that come from living in a fallen world. He takes our brokenness and failure, interlaces with his love and weaves us back together. We are not like Humpty-Dumpty who couldn’t be put back together again, peace is possible for all humanity. This is what Jesus born in a manger came to deliver.
When we have peace with God and peace from God, we are released into the world to be beacons of light. One of the best examples of His peace was displayed on Christmas Eve, 1914, in an event often referred to as The Christmas Truce. There was an unofficial ceasefire between German and British soldiers and the troops crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings, food, and souvenirs. Imagine soldiers at war stopping to converse and celebrate together. It’s hard to picture what that scene might have been like, but there was a short film made a few years ago that tried to capture that moment. Take a few minutes today and watch this clip. As you do, ask Jesus how he wants to birth new peace in you. Here’s a link to the video.
Pastor Ryan Paulson