If there is anything I struggle with most, year round it is the presence of inner peace.
Am I the only one?
There are so many ways peace is choked out of the day. It’s like a tug-of-war in the spirit. Peace can be ripped from my grip as quickly as turning on the news or going on the internet. It fades away when the tediousness of everyday tasks turn into bitterness of the heart. When the kids yell, and whine and cry. And at night when peace is supposed to envelope and rejuvenate our sleeping souls, distress hits us with nightmares and terrors and battles are fought all over again in the quiet of the night.
Peace can be a problem.
And all this Christmas season keeps preaching to me is peace. Peace that feels like a mirage in the desert, taunting me with its artificial presence of sweet quenching waters.
So if Jesus came to bring peace? Where is it?
I find it strange that in almost all scenario’s the only way to acquire peace is to fight for it. Every day there is a battle of mind and spirit for the one thing our heart desires.
And it was the same on the first Christmas.
When Mary and Joseph made that long trek to Bethlehem, unbeknownst to them they were most definitely at war. And Herod, was a player in that fight. He was petrified of the coming King and his paranoia drove him to extreme lengths of killing even his own family if there was just a whiff of disloyalty. He was determined to stop the long prophesy of a coming Savior in its tracks.
Joseph accepted his place in the conflict the moment he decided to wed Mary and adopt a child that was not his own. He took up arms that day. And together Mary and Joseph began a battle that would one day save the world.
The Shepherd’s experienced this combat from another realm when thousands of angels appeared to them. The Hebrew word for Heavenly host is Sabaoth, which translated means armies. This event was absolutely a cosmic war. Can you even imagine what kind of sight it may have been to peer inside the spiritual realm during the journey of Joseph and Mary?
But Jesus came to bring peace. Right?
Sure, He also came with a sword (Matthew 10:34) which is fightin words and certainly we saw warfare played out at his death and resurrection.
So here we sit at Christmas time, remembering a silent and holy night. A star and angels and wise men. We sit on the precipice of an almighty birthday. We look at twinkling lights and crackling fires; all the while our hearts are still filled with burden and strife of all kinds.
I suppose it is quite fitting though.
Because although He came to bring peace…..it took war. And we still sit in the middle of history, waiting patiently for His return. And it will take another final battle (Revelation 19:11) to finish this war of sin that wages against us internally and externally.
It is an eternal struggle for peace we as Christians find ourselves in. The only difference we have is hope of final rest. I believe Christ can and does give us peace here on earth also. I believe it comes with perseverance of faith; in the midst of our slow sanctification, as we run the race placed in front of us.
But as we run we strive for that final breath. A surge of relief coming from the full presence of Christ Himself.
So this Christmas do not let your heart be troubled if the songs, lights and trees aren’t producing peace. Remember that burden is why Christ came and battle is what it takes to bring peace.
Await His return. He’s coming.