“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
My wife told me a story recently about a young woman who was in need of serious surgery only to see it delayed due to circumstances beyond her control.
When I saw her, I was astonished. You would never know that she was facing a life-threatening illness.
It was then that I realized my wife’s friend enjoys a special kind of peace that the Bible calls “the peace of God”. It’s a gift that only comes through faith and prayer.
The Apostle Paul talked about the peace of God in his letter to the Philippian Church. He told us that it could not be understood, but he promised that it could be seen.
Robbie and I reflected on these words and realized just how much they seem to describe her friend. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Have you ever stopped and wondered what the world would be like if Christ had not come? A Christmas card was once published with that thought in mind.
The card told the story of a pastor who took a nap in his study on Christmas morning and dreamed about a world that never knew Jesus Christ.
In his dream he found himself looking through his home, but there was no Christmas tree, no stockings hung on the mantle, and no wreath of holly graced the front door. More importantly, there was no Christ present to comfort, encourage, and save.
He walked out to the street and found that his own church – with its steeple pointing towards heaven – was gone. When he returned home and sat back down in his study, he discovered that every book he had ever owned about the Lord had disappeared.
The doorbell rang and one of his church members asked him to visit his poor, dying mother. He gladly responded, rushed to her bedside and said, “I have something here that will comfort you”, only to learn that his Bible ended with the Book of Malachi. There was no Gospel, no promise of hope and no assurance of salvation. He could only bow his head and cry with her in bitter despair.
Christmas is a season of joy, not because of the gifts that we give, or the gifts we receive. We are able to celebrate because of the gift of salvation and the peace that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus himself told us, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
I found a poem by Helen Steiner Rice that reminds us all about what the peace of God can provide. It’s my gift to you and my prayer that you will let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
Peace from Above
Whenever I am troubled and lost in deep despair,
I bundle all my troubles up and go to God in prayer,
I tell Him I am heartsick and lost and lonely too,
That I am deeply burdened and don’t know what to do.
But I know He stilled the tempest and calmed the angry sea,
And I humbly ask if in His love He’ll do the same for me.
Then I just keep quiet and think on thoughts of peace,
And as I abide in stillness my restless murmurings cease.