As we harken to the song of the herald angels as our familiar Christmas carol calls us to do, we recall the triumphant declaration that the newborn Son of God brought peace to earth. As foretold by the prophet Isaiah, born that day was the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) who was the Word made flesh (John 1:14) sent to bring peace (Luke 2:14), preach peace (Acts 10:36), and make peace between man and God (Ephesians 2:14-17).
And so he did! Salvation in Christ is the only means by which anyone can find peace with God (Romans 5:1). We have a glorious future as we look forward to the ultimate deliverance from sin to peace in heaven, the millennial kingdom, and the new heaven and new earth. However, there seems to be a greater emphasis among Christians on the future peace to be experienced rather than the present gift of peace in Jesus Christ. One of the reasons that future peace is emphasized is because peace in the present world is elusive.
We also long for peace to come in our lives as we wrestle with conflict, difficulty, and hardship. We hope that comfort comes despite suffering. We want something that adds worth and value to our distress. The longing in our heart for the redemption of our pain is an eternal desire given by God. Because he put that desire in our heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11), only Jesus can satisfy that desire.
So how does he satisfy us with peace?
God satisfies us with peace by delivering us from a world of turmoil into a life of tranquility.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. – Romans 8:6
To be carnally minded is to seek peace through the promises of the world, but the promises of the world are nothing more than vanity – leading to turmoil when believed. To be spiritually minded is to seek and apply the promises of God, which are timeless and priceless – leading to inward tranquility.
Has God promised us peace in our present lives? Let the words of Christ himself resound in our ears:
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Let’s face facts. Jesus himself said that we would face tribulations and trials in the world (John 16:33, noted above). C.S. Lewis observed that, “It’s not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” Peace does not have to be elusive; we simply must understand how to access and apply it.
Jesus Christ satisfies our hearts and minds with peace – here and now. Peace is a gift – a true Christmas gift – that he gives to us. Now its time to take off the wrapping, open the box, and see what it looks like inside. Paul “opened the box” for us and unpacked the gift of peace in the most practical terms in Philippians 4:2-9:
- Seek the mind of God as revealed in his Word (4:2)
- Accept help from others (4:3)
- Rejoice in Jesus’s love when others make you feel unloved (4:4)
- Stay as objective as possible by taking moderate, not extreme, positions (4:5)
- Stop to pray and give thanks that God can calm your anxiety (4:6)
- Change how you think (4:8)
- Find and follow mentors who model biblical beliefs and behaviors (4:9)
If we seek peace from the world, we will never be satisfied. If we seek peace from God, we will never be dissatisfied. And, as the Apostle Paul declared, the God of peace will give you the peace of God, keeping your hearts and minds peaceful through Jesus Christ (4:6-7, 9). Now that is a holiday recipe for a peace. So, go follow these steps to bake up some of those blessings this Christmas and you will enjoy peace on earth in the most practical ways possible!