In the Bible we are told that at the first Christmas a bunch of Angels cried out-
“Peace on earth and good will to all people,
On whom his favour rests”
A great promise isn’t? I am sure we could all do with a bit more peace, because there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of it around this Christmas whether it is on the world stage or in our own lives. In fact there is an epidemic of worry, stress and anxiety.
However, although widely quoted in the media and in Christmas greetings the Angels’ promise is generally misunderstood, in fact deceptively so, because it muddies the understanding of the Christmas event.
When the Angels used the word ‘Peace’ it was not in the way we usually use it, but in the sense of ‘Peace’ with God. This means the restoration of our relationship with God, with whom humans are in effect ‘at war’ because we have rejected him (just by ignoring him mostly) as our king. Such a status is one to which he is fully entitled because he created us and it is to him that we owe our daily existence.
The promise of peace is not one of a cessation of wars etc. Jesus made that very plain in Mark 13:7,8. Rather, it is the offer of a ‘healed’ relationship with God that is the purpose of the Christmas event. Interestingly one of the meanings of the name Jesus (Old Testament-Joshua) is ‘God heals’. This is why Jesus came into our world in that Bethlehem stable around 2000 years ago, to give us true ‘Peace’.
“It is the offer of a ‘healed’ relationship with God
that is the purpose of the Christmas event”
This is the inner ‘Peace’ that we can have no matter what the circumstances of our lives or the world, the ‘Peace‘ that comes from a new (healed) relationship with God, one that will even carry us safely through the gateway of our own inevitable death into an eternal life with him.
How do we get this Peace? It is by saying sorry to God for ignoring him and asking Jesus to give us the greatest ever Christmas present. That is total forgiveness, and a new quality of life that comes from knowing that no matter how far away from God our life decisions have taken us, we are accepted into his family and his kingdom as his beloved son or daughter.
That is a ‘Different Kind of Peace!’
May it be yours this Christmas