Summary: All I want for Christmas is peace. This message was preaches just prior to serving communion on Christmas Eve.
For the last 4 weeks I have been preaching on the topic: All I want for Christmas is. And then I named a different item each week. By now you must think I can’t make up my mind. First week I said all I want for Christmas is a Savior. I think that is what the OT prophets would have said. Next I said All I want for Christmas is Joy. Real happiness. Then I said all I want for Christmas is Hope. This morning I said all I want for Christmas is Love. So tonight I have changed my mind again …. and all I want for Christmas is Peace. My wife put that on her Christmas list this year. She asked for World Peace. I told her that was way above my pay grade.
In the 2nd chapter of Luke’s gospel we read, “Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying” Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth.” Ever wonder? Why is it do so difficult to find these things…….joy, peace, hope …and especially at this time of year. I mean that is what this season is all about right? It makes us ask the question….is it possible that we have made this season about other things? That we have made it all about what we want and not about what God wants? I think so.
A group called Mental Health America did a survey to ask what kind of anxieties people have at this time of year. 3 answers quickly rose to the top. Financial problems. Grief. Busyness. Most of us are maxed out at this time of year. But the word peace is all over the Bible. Peace is a beautiful word in the scripture. It means to set again, like a broken bone. It means to repair something by putting/gluing it back together. And it is used in at least 4 ways.
1. Peace with God. Billy Graham wrote a book by that title and said this 50 years ago: the greatest warfare going on in the world, today is between man and God. Too many of us are just plain stubborn and we refuse to give God His way in our lives. Jesus said, “He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” And everybody loved Him for saying that until they realized He meant it for everybody. The Jews were fine if it was for them but Jesus was talking about sinners like you and me, they went crazy. The scripture says they drove him out of town and tried to kill him. But Jesus said everyone can be at peace with Him.
2. Peace of God. Just before Jesus died, He said, peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Let me ask you, how much of this peace do you want in your life? The amount of peace you will experience depends on how much room you make for him in your life.
3. Peace with others. The Bible tells us that once we find peace we are responsible to make peace. Jesus did not tell us to be peacekeepers; He told us to be peace makers. There is plenty of conflict around so this can be a full time job.
4. Peace for others. Because we have peace, it is also ours to give away. When the shepherds heard the Good news of Jesus the Bible says they hurried off to tell everyone else. We have the same responsibility. The peace of Christ is not just for us … he offers it to everyone and it is made possible for all because of His death on the cross. So we come to this table tonight to celebrate His death and resurrection. We come here to remember Him. A friend made a visit to an older woman who was badly crippled by arthritis. Her friend asked her do you suffer much? She said yes but there’s no nail here and she pointed to her hand. She said, he felt the nails, I feel the peace. There are no thorns here and she pointed to her head. He felt the thorns. I feel the peace. She touched her side and said there is no spear here. He felt the spear, I feel the peace. Prayer.