After approximately 40 years of Christmas Sermons and reading banners or singing songs declaring “Peace on Earth”, I finally get it (thank you punk-kid preacher from this past Sunday. I say “punk-kid” in the most complimentary way possible. He looked about 17). Because, seriously, who are we kidding if we believe that God indeed brought “Peace on Earth”? Look around you. Turn on the news. Visit a grade school playground. Stand in line on Black Friday. And those are just the everyday “basics”. Obviously there is a tumultuous darkness looming in most homes at any given point. The behind the scenes reel. Is the message of the angels to the shepherds 2000 years ago ( “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men”) a cosmic joke? Or something they said just to be nice because, after all, they were in holiday spirit? So, what is so revolutionary about what finally dawned on me about this promise-this declaration? I’ll tell you: It’s revolutionary because now it feels true. And that truth is this: “Peace on Earth”=Peace in ME while ON EARTH.
Maybe I have created too much hype for the punch-line. But my mind is blown. When Jesus came-GOD in the flesh-He did it so that even when there is NOT peace on earth, He can put peace in me. It’s personal. And I love how punk-kid preacher put it, “Peace on Earth starts with Peace in me.” He said, in essence, that Peace isn’t the absence of trials, horrors, betrayals, death, disease, and heartache. It’s maintaining perspective in them (Maybe he read my blog from a few days ago…). In John 14:27, Jesus tells his friends that he is leaving them with Peace. He is giving them peace. That he does not give as the world gives. And so we are clear, what exactly does the world give? Well, on a good day there is some kindness and compassion and love. But, mingled in with all that good, there is a bunch of, well, crap. Trouble. Stress. Pain. Terror. God sent his son to me so in the midst of all of that badness, He can steady my heart and allow me to live with peace in me. It’s the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Towards the end of baby Jesus’ life, after he lived and loved and was preparing to die, he comforts his disciples with these words: “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.” And at the first Christmas ever, He “came over” from Heaven to earth to bring it. He over-powered the troubles of this world. He offers you and me the chance to live serenely in the midst of chaos. It’s a gift. And because of that it’s given freely. I’ll take it. Let there be “Peace on Earth”, and let it begin in me.
(Let me just conclude with what I thought would’ve been a phenomenal sign-off for my punk-kid preacher this last Sunday…”Peace Out!” ✌️)