Friday, December 24, 2010

The Peace of Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve, y'all!  I hope you are warm with your family and loved ones, that you have a chance to worship by candlelight, that your presents are wrapped or, more importantly, purchased, that you don't have to go to the grocery store today (like I do... procrastinator), and that your next two days are full of peace.

"His law is love, and His gospel is peace."

Peace.  God has been gently moving my heart and mind toward his peace this holiday season.  To be honest, so much of my time and energy since Thanksgiving has been anything but peaceful.  It's been chaotic trips to Lenox Mall and stressing on what to buy people and making lists and more lists and lists about the lists.  It seems that the common reaction to this is, "Welcome to adulthood, Jamie...you're not a child anymore."  And yes, there's an element of truth to that.  But the greater truth by far is that Christmas is about Jesus and Jesus is about peace.

"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."

The Greek word for peace is EIRENE, which is related to the Hebrew word SHALOM.  Both of these words "[express] the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquility in the soul that is unaffected by the outward circumstances or pressures. The word eirene strongly suggests the rule of order in place of chaos." (Rick Renner)

"Bring your peace into our violence, bid our hungry souls be filled; Word now breaking heaven's silence, welcome to our world."

And this is the beauty, the gift of Christmas. That the God of Peace (I Thess. 5:23) sent down the Prince of Peace to redeem his people.  Through Christ, we are made whole and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4).  And when the stress and the pressure of not just a holiday season but of life - its heartbreaks and wounds and tears and loneliness and struggles - seem to be overwhelming us, we can call upon that peace to rule in our hearts (Col. 3:15).  We can live in victorious peace through Christ who was born in a manger.  We are complete in him who was born to rescue and redeem us.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

This Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Emmanuel, God With Us - sent from Heaven to save his people, make them whole, and fill them with a peace that knows no end.  Glory to God!

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