Merry Christmas everyone, Rob here. The Christmas story tells us that the angels appeared to the shepherds saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests (Luke 2:14).” Once again this Christmas we see our world in desperate need of God-given peace.
Many nations are at war with themselves: Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, The Democratic Republic of Congo to name but a few. Others seem to permanently live in a state of tension with the world like North Korea and Iran. Billions are spent on armies, weaponry and military technology while millions starve and countless more struggle to survive. That is at a global level. What about closer to home? The middle class world of suburbia is not exempt from the struggle. Marriages fail, families fall apart, churches divide, friendships end, workplaces are fraught with tension, neighbourhoods experience crime and too many homes experience violence – even more so at Christmas. This Christmas we desperately need Jesus and his peace to reign in our world and in our lives.
The peace of Christ is not one of conflict avoidance. It is not passive. It is the peace that comes after battles are won, or even truer, the peace that comes in the midst of battle because victory is sure. Christ’s peace involves enemies being defeated, divisions being healed, forgiveness being offered and grace being accepted. It involves justice being administered, rulers being humbled and the humble being raised up. It involves the hungry being filled with good things and the selfish rich being sent away empty. These are the themes of reversal that we see in the Magnificat; Mary’s song of praise to God who placed the Saviour in her womb (See Luke 1:46-55).
Christmas isn’t just about a baby or wise men or courageous parents. It’s about the fact that, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us (John 1:14).” That means Christmas is about all that was won by Christ dwelling among us as flesh and blood. It’s about the kingdom of God breaking into our midst, the law being fulfilled in Christ, our sin dying with Christ on the cross, death and Satan being defeated by his resurrection from the dead, his rule being established through his ascension and the guaranteeing of our inheritance being given through the pouring out of the Holy Spirit into our hearts. It’s about the fact that we now belong to Christ with hearts made new and are being made kingdom-ready as we eagerly anticipate the return of the King. Christ has won peace for us. He has defeated sin, Satan and death. He has given us his Spirit and the fruit that comes with him; his hope, his love, his joy and his peace.
Praise the Lord, the Lord has come. Praise the Lord, the Lord dwells in the hearts of his people. Praise the Lord, the King will return and all will be well.
Have a blessed Christmas everyone and may the peace of Christ dwell in you richly.