Season greetings everyone. Rob here. This will be my last post of the year and I want to thank all our readers for their support and feedback. In the new year we will have some guest posts from my friend Tim Spurgeon and I know that you’ll enjoy them. Also in 2013 at Brand New Heart Ministries we will be running our very first Men’s Retreat in April. It’s exciting times and we’ll post more details about that event very soon.
As seems to be normal in the lead-up to Christmas there are events that happen that make our hearts sink. This year it has been the killing of 20 young children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, U.S.A. As a father of a 6 year old boy – all the children killed were aged 6 or 7 – I was horrified, shocked, distressed, sickened by the tragedy. This Christmas, it forces us to confront the terrible reality that humanity is fallen and treats each other with cruelty and disdain far too often. We seem incapable of living in peace with one another.
The theme for the final Sunday in Advent is peace. It reminds us of Isaiah’s prophecy: Every warrior’s boot used in battle, and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.
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 Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:5-6)
Martin Luther King Jr once said, “True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” Justice comes when we are ruled by the One who is truly just – Jesus our King. We reflect on tragedies like Sandy Hook, the civil war in Syria, every act of domestic violence and any act born of hatred and it makes us long for the day of Christ’s return.
“I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, ‘Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. he will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.’
And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’ …To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life. All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.'” (Revelation 21:3-7)
Until that great day (“Amen! Come Lord Jesus “= Rev. 22:20) we bow the knee and pledge our allegiance, our lives, our hearts and minds to Christ our King right now. We let the Prince of Peace fill our lives with his peace. We become peacemakers in his name. We stand against evil and stand up for justice in his name. We forgive others and ask for forgiveness in his name and encourage others to do the same. We hold our governments to account and ask our lawmakers to reflect on the Way of the King when they make decisions. We pray for them and for us. We break the cycles of hatred and despair; violence and vengeance; bitterness and resentment in the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
My prayer is that this Christmas we will do more than open presents and enjoy good food. We will offer ourselves wholeheartedly to our Lord and King; Saviour, friend and brother – Jesus. He is our only hope; He is love; He is our true joy and He is peace for our hearts. May he transform us into his image and may his kingdom come, on earth as in heaven. Amen! Come Lord Jesus.