We live in a world in which there is no peace.
Using a thinly veiled disguise of anti-government rebels, Russia invades neighboring Ukraine, resulting in hundreds of deaths and sending thousands of refugees fleeing for safety. Islamist extremists advance relentlessly with their brutal attacks on Christians, Kurds, and other Muslims, subjecting towns and villages to their beheadings and executions and warped notions of “religious” laws. Rebellious citizens in dozens of countries rise up in violent protests against their governments. Embassies are attacked, and diplomats are murdered. Peace, it seems, is no-where to be found.
The lack of peace in our world extends beyond armed conflict to politics. It’s no longer enough to debate or disagree with political opponents. In today’s world, politicians attack those who disagree with them in an attempt to destroy lives and reputations. Even compromise, the cornerstone of the political process for any democracy, disappears in the wake of bitter partisan attacks and counterattacks.
And the streets of our nation are anything but peaceful. Protests turn violent. Gunshots pierce the nights (and days) in our cities. Crazed and disturbed criminals explode bombs and massacre children in schools. Police challenged with maintaining order are themselves attacked and, at times, respond in kind. Drive-by shooters kill and wound their targets and innocent bystanders, including children.
No peace between nations. No peace in politics. No peace in our streets. And no peace in sinful human hearts burdened with guilt and riddled with fears and despair.
Yes, we live in a world in which there is no peace.
But at the very same time we live in a world in which there is a real and perfect peace that no war can shatter and no violence can destroy.
The message of the angels on the night of the Savior’s birth proclaimed good news. The angels announced that God’s long-standing promise to send a Savior had been kept. Christ had been born in Bethlehem. The fullness of time had come. His coming was worth the heavenly announcement. The angels proclaimed that the reason for fear and despair need not trouble human hearts. They said, “Fear not!” It was welcome news in a world not all that much different from our own. Fear not God and his judgment; a Savior was born. Fear not death; a deliverer came. The song of the angels proclaimed something else: The Savior had come to bring a perfect peace to a sick and sinful and lost world.
As we struggle in a world that knows no peace in so many ways, we also celebrate once again with thankful and reverent hearts that God brought into this world a perfect and complete peace—a peace that calms all fears and overcomes all sadness. It’s a peace between sinners and their Creator, a peace that comes from sins forgiven and grace out poured. It’s a peace that belongs to all who kneel at the manger to worship their newborn Savior, the Prince of genuine and eternal peace. We have peace. We are forgiven by the work this child finished at Calvary. We have life
because he rose from his tomb. No matter how many bullets, protests, and violent demonstrations we may witness, we are at peace with God. Now we can be peacemakers here.
Have a blessed, joyful, and peace-filled Christmas!
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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 101, Number 12
Issue: December 2014
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