Dear Christian friends:
Peace. Peace on Earth.
The hymn Silent Night speaks of Christ sleeping in heavenly peace. Bing Crosby and David Bowie sing their popular duet Peace on Earth / The Little Drummer Boy. The poem turned carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day speaks of peace. Most Christmas cards in the mail focus on peace. Simply put, especially at this time of year, peace is popular!
And let us not forget the angel who sang of peace to the shepherds.
What did they say? “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” [Luke 2:14]
The peace in the New Testament is not international. There is no promise of harmony between nations. We learn in Romans 16:20 that the world will not know final rest from war until the God of peace crushes Satan.
The world in which we live, the nation in which we live, is anything but peaceful. Look around. It’s not simply the war against terrorism. Measure the increasing number of protests that are happening. There is little peace in the lives of men and women everywhere.
The peace of Christmas is about peace with God.
Jesus Christ was born so that we can be reconciled through Him. Jesus is Our Redeemer!
There can be no peace without God. His intervention is essential, for sin has so marred individuals and society that strife is our constant companion.
The peace of Christmas is not a mere absence of strife, but the active experience of a harmony with God that promotes total well-being regardless of circumstance.
This same peace is the Peace of Christ. Forgiven we forgive. At peace with God, we offer peace. This is what is happening in the middle of our worship service before we commune together. We have just been reminded of our peace with God through the invocation, confession and absolution, law and gospel of the sermon, and we come together at peace with one another at the communion rail. We are at peace and we offer the peace of Christ to those in our sanctuary and all we encounter throughout the week. Let us always be sharing the peace of Christ!
I wish each and every one of you peace and joy this Christmas – the peace that only comes from following Jesus, the peace that is beyond all human understanding.
Merry Christmas! Pastor Hartwig