Peace on Earth?

Peace on Earth?       

The holiday season can be a blessing. Despite the holiday bustle, there is time to enjoy being with family and friends.  Even so, we should take care with the holidays and confirm our understanding of biblical truth. For example:

“Hark! the herald angels sing; Glory to the newborn King; Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinners reconciled” (Hark the Herald Angels Sing). “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”  (Luke 2.14)

“Silent night! Holy night! All is calm all is bright; Round yon virgin mother and child; Holy infant so tender and mild; Sleep in heavenly peace!” (Silent Night). “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt 10.34).

It’s easy (and misleading) to want a “general peace,” a wide-spread absence of hostility. And it can be easy to confuse peace with an easy road in life, the absence of hard times. The Son of God left heaven to bring heavenly peace and reconciliation to mankind, but we must understand the substance and the value of His peace.

In John 13-17, Jesus taught and comforted and warned and encouraged his apostles in the hours before His arrest in the garden. Despite His internal turmoil, regardless of the sacrifice that He knew would be required, Jesus offered peace to His closest followers. “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” (14.27), and “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (16.33). Christians everywhere will have trouble in this world, but we are encouraged to “take heart.”

In a fallen world, believers and unbelievers share the uncertainties of daily living. But we have received the same gift that Jesus gave His apostles, and Paul reminded the Philippians of that gift. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4.6-7). We have the choice of living in God’s peace.