What image come to mind when you hear the word “peace”? I used to think peace was the absence of all conflict or trouble. I pictured a sailboat in the middle of a placid lake with little or no breeze. Today I visualize a completely different scene.
The biblical definition of peace has an element of the absence of trouble. However, it embraces other aspects, as well. Peace can mean “being in right relationship with another.” It also includes “completeness and safety in the midst of chaos.” It’s comforting to know that when situations and relationships are far from peaceful, I can still be at peace.
The Advent season is the perfect time to remember God’s gift of peace. The Prince of Peace arrived during a time of Roman oppression. In Bethlehem, while the little town was overcrowded by the great influx of people coming to register for the census, God visited in the form of a newborn. Born to the Virgin Mary and Joseph, His cries pierced the darkness. His divine life brought supernatural peace to human kind.
As followers of Christ, we enjoy peace on many levels.
We enjoy peace with God. The angel chorus announced it to the shepherds.
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:13-14).
We do not struggle under the load of sin. We are no longer separated from God. We are brought near to Him and are in right relationship with the Lord.
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
We enjoy peace with ourselves. Long after I knew I had peace with God, I continued to be in conflict with myself. I had a long list of “shoulds” and could never measure up. I extended kindness and grace to others, but was a brutal task master to myself. I constantly strove to excel in every area of my life. Thankfully the Lord, in His great love and patience, established His peace in my soul. Now I have serenity with my weaknesses and deficiencies. I know I am deeply loved by the Lord regardless of my performance. Perhaps you can relate with being hostile toward yourself. Rely on the Lord to help you be in right relationship with yourself.
We enjoy peace in our circumstances. We live in a fallen world with broken people. Life can be so hard some times. We experience disappointment, heartache, setback, and trauma. We encounter illness, injustice, violence, and death. Sometimes things don’t make sense. However, no matter what we may encounter in the moment, it does not have the power to shake the well being of our souls. The wonderful message of Christmas is that we are never alone. Emmanuel—God with us—has come. We have completeness and safety in the midst of chaos.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
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.” (John 16:33)
Today when I think of peace, it looks like the eye of a storm. The winds of destruction may rage, but there is a place of calm in the center. Christ is our Center. We can face anything and everything, because God’s peace is with us.
Jesus Christ came to this earth and provided peace. We have peace with God, peace with ourselves, and peace in the midst of our circumstances.
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3, NLT)
Heavenly Father, thank You for being the Prince of Peace. Teach me to trust You and to walk in Your perfect peace. This holiday season, may I reflect on Your great gift of peace and learn to always keep You at the center of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Graphic designed by Jordanne Babcock