Do not be afraid, I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all people. Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” Luke 2:10, 2:14
As of this writing, Christmas has come and gone, at least as far as the holiday and its celebrations are concerned. People are starting to pack up the Christmas decorations and taking down the tree. The focus is upon more usual routines, such the return to work, school, and other activities. Thoughts about the new year and what it will bring will be occupying more of our time and planning.
Before we leave this celebration too soon, there is a deep, lasting message worth considering. There is the gift that keeps on giving. The Bible verses above contain wisdom about lasting gifts. These verses are taken from Luke in which the angels visit the shepherds and direct them to Bethlehem. Most of us understand that Jesus is the source of the good news and is the reason for joy. The second verse is the one that deserves more of our attention.
In a recent sermon related to the shepherds, one of our elders, Troy Couch, made interesting observations about the promise of peace. As he said in his sermon “‘on earth peace to men is not saying ‘peace on earth.’ The Roman empire at this time was complete and absolute. They ruled the entire known world from corner to corner. It was known as the ‘Pax Romana,’ (Roman peace). There were no more enemies to be conquered, no more wars to be fought. But this was not the peace that the Angel was speaking of. They were speaking of a peace of mind and soul. …”
It is instead a peace that comes from being reconciled to God. Think about this. It is a peace that can help us get through troubled times, whether that is personal or related to the problems in our world.
This is a unique perspective. How many times do we feel overburdened by personal problems or by the disturbing events we see on the news or read in our newspapers or online. Sometimes it can be overwhelming and a source of discouragement. No wonder people sometimes cry out where is God or say they wonder if God is going to step in and help us. What we can gain from this concept of God’s peace is what I referenced in the title of this article. This kind of peace is that gift that keeps on giving. It is very different from what we do at Christmastime. At Christmastime we get caught up with the giving and receiving of gifts that do not have lasting benefits. It is important that we do not lose sight of what is really important.
The peace that comes from God transcends any holiday or functional gift. Peace like this provides an endless source of strength and comfort. As we move on into the New Year, keep in mind the peace of God and let that peace provide a calmer perspective. It will be the gift that keeps on giving. Trust that the Lord is ready, willing, and able to accompany you. Just let faith in the Lord be your guiding principle.