"The Gift of Peace"
This is the season of the year that we sing about “peace on earth and good will toward men”. However, when we log onto the daily news, we are reminded that there is little peace on earth. Whether it is the fighting in Afghanistan, the problems in the Middle East, our ongoing war on terror, tribal conflict in Africa or dozens of other trouble spots around the world, there seems to be little peace. When you add to these conflicts the racial hatred, domestic violence, violent crime, and a general ill will between so many people, it appears that the words “peace on earth and good will toward men” have little or no meaning for our world today.
A part of the problem is that we do not understand the biblical meaning of peace. To most people, peace means the absence of conflict, but in biblical days it had a much deeper meaning. The Old Testament meaning referred to the completeness, soundness and well being of the total person. Peace was considered a gift from God for those who obeyed the Law. The Jewish greeting Shalom is a wish for this peace in the life of the individual. The New Testament meaning refers to the inner tranquility of the Christian brought about by the reconciliation of the believer with his/her God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
This is the peace Jesus spoke about when He said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”(John 14:27 NASB) Jesus’ life was the perfect example of the peace God’s wishes for each of us to experience. He was attacked from all directions, but He never lost the inner tranquility of heart that comes from being at perfect peace with the heavenly Father. This is the peace that He brings to us today. Through Him, we can be reconciled with the heavenly Father and we can be the recipients of the peace that He offers.
At this point you may ask, “What does this have to do with “peace on earth and good will toward men”? The answer is simple. Before men will ever have a lasting peace between themselves, they must first be at peace with God. It is peace with God that prepares us to be at peace with each other. Peace with God is the gift that Jesus brings to us. He is the only One that can bring lasting peace to the world.
This Christmas make sure that you unwrap the gift of peace. Give Jesus first place in your life. Let Him provide you with the inner tranquility that He desires you to have. Let Him make John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace, in the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”, become a reality in your life.