I absolutely love the holiday season. We get to celebrate, drink hot chocolate, decorate, shop ’til we drop, and spend time with family and friends. And did I mention Christmas carols? With so much to enjoy, it’s easy to take it all for granted. This season can be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the most stressful. Peace on earth, good will to men. I was thinking about this common phrase we sing around Christmas time, and I couldn’t shake it from my mind.
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. – Isaiah 9:6 (NIV)
Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace. But did you know that Jesus Himself said that He did not come to bring peace on earth?
Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. – Luke 12:51-52 (NIV)
Now we know that God’s desire is for the whole world to know Him and to know His peace, but Jesus knew that His message of salvation was one that would ultimately bring division. Some would choose to follow Him and others would not. Jesus didn’t come to bring world peace in the way that we imagine it; rather He came to bring peace to those who would call on His name.
So why then do we sing the phrase each Christmas “peace on earth”? The phrase stems from the Christmas story found in Luke. The angels appeared to the shepherds in their fields to announce the Messiah’s birth.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:14 (NIV)
God longs to bring His peace to every man, woman, and child on this planet. But the truth is that peace in only found in Jesus. Only those who belong to Him will experience His peace beyond all understanding. There is no true peace apart from knowing Jesus, our Messiah.
Jesus came to bring peace on earth to all those who would believe in Him.
So I become a Christian and automatically experience His peace right? Not necessarily. As a child of God, I have access to His peace, but I have to choose daily to walk in it. When daily life and stress weigh me down, I have the choice to be frazzled or to bask in His peace.
With the holiday season quickly approaching, I am finding myself teetering on the side of stress rather than peace. Do you find yourself doing the same thing?
Here are three practical things we can do to live in His peace this holiday season:
- Surrender our plans to Him and learn to trust Him when He “adjusts” them. – Things don’t always go as planned, but I have found that more often than not it’s a good thing. God’s plans are so much better than our own. So make plans, yes, but trust that God will determine your steps.
- Stay in His Word and be diligent in prayer. – In the business of the season, it’s more important than ever to not allow our alone time with our Father fall to the wayside.
- Remember the reason we are celebrating in the first place. – As cliché as it sounds, Jesus is the reason we do any of this. He’s the reason we are celebrating. The trees, the lights, and the presents don’t really matter in the end. It’s all about Him.