Around the Holiday season we are filled with the constant reminders to focus on love, joy, and peace. I recently heard a sermon centered on how to find authentic peace amidst our world of constant conflict. While discussing that peace seems to be fairly absent in our world, the minister focused on the idea that Christmas is a time we celebrate the coming of Christ, the Prince of Peace, into our world, and as he continued he pointed to the idea that the real and authentic peace is only possible through Christ.
A key part of the sermon was that we must personally know Jesus Christ to understand that real peace is possible and that it is a personal experience. You must find peace through your relationship with God. Also, it is necessary to know that this peace being offered through Jesus Christ is permanent, will never change, and will never leave. And that is where the message was left, that real peace is possible, personal, and permanent.
As I sat there listening, I began to think is simply understanding the peace Christ has to offer and accepting it enough? Aren’t we challenged to take this peace out into the world? If I have found a personal authentic peace, shouldn’t I share it with the world? Shouldn’t I help, through the peace of Christ, find a way to have peace for all?
My greatest struggle wasn’t just what I was hearing in this one sermon, it was the fact that I had grown up hearing similar sermons. And over the past several months, I have learned that Christ is anything but the “personal Jesus” I had grown up learning about. Through various readings and reflections over scripture it has become evident to me how much God values community and seeing His people working together, loving one another, and sharing His love with each other.
In Matthew 5:9, one of the beatitudes, Christ states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (NIV). Blessed are those who work to bring peace to others, not merely those who have found their own and live in peace. One of the ways we are able to accomplish the task of sharing peace with others is sharing the message of God, sharing His love and desire for reconciliation between men and between Him and man. (Check out 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
So my hope for you this Christmas season is to recognize the peace Christ is offering and that you share it with others. I pray you recognize the call God has given us to be peacemakers, to be just and righteous.
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.” ~ Isaiah 9:6-7