God’s Gift in 2020 – Peace

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Luke 2: 1-14

1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

It is this last pronouncement that I’d like us to focus upon today; …and on earth peach to those on whom his favor rests.

Whether you realize it or not, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you are among those of whom the angel was speaking on that night so long ago.

In a year like 2020 has been:

  • a presidential impeachment and acquittal,
  • a pandemic,
  • massive economic disruption,
  • widespread social disruption,
  • and a major election which is still being contested…

It would be easy to swap the peace in our souls for the turmoil in our world. But I would suggest to you that such a trade is the opposite of what you and I need. In fact, now is the time for us to focus most on the peace which comes from our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Now is the time for us to remember how great our God is and how temporary (relatively short lived) and temporal (earthbound as opposed to eternal) our present circumstances often are. Jesus declared, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Mark 13:31) Most things in life will change, but some things, like God’s Word, never change.

Events which seem to conspire against the peace of the soul are most often just that — events. They are points in time which, while significant, are also likely to pass and fade into history. They may change our lives for the moment, but they probably will not permanently change our lives. And for certain, they need not rob us of the peace which Jesus came to secure for us when He came to earth.

Today it may seem as though everything in our world is being shaken. That may, in fact, be the case. But such turmoil, confusion and even the vague sense that things just don’t seem “right” in the world, is the very reason Jesus came to introduce us to “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, (which) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)

We don’t need peace with God and peace for our souls so long as everything around us is peaceful. The benefit of God’s gift of peace rests with its comfort to us when there is no reasonable expectation for peace. Through Christ, God has made it possible for us to experience peace when the world is at war; and realize it or not, the world has been and will always be at war with the peace which Jesus provides.

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