Summary: A look at what lies at the Heart of God for Christmas
Christmas can mean so many things …
For my kids… presents
For many …. Family time… which may involve the warmth or challenge of being together.
For many… a little break at the end of a busy year.
What lies in the heart of God this morning? What is heaven celebrating?
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
We find the proclamation of peace is at the center of what God held at hand in the birth of Christ.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
 Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end.
Perhaps you find the sense of peace to be a bit of a paradox at Christmas… You may find peace hard to hold onto… as you go through the busyness of the Christmas season.
Joke – Two men on the eastern seaboard… dropped off their wives at the mall… went sailing… storm…capsize… as they hang on to the boat tossed about… one says, ”Man, this sure beats the shopping mall.”
Yet when quieter moments are found… there is that feeling in the air… a peace like no other… that somehow these events fill the world with new meaning and hope.
On a global level we still see the need as striking as ever before. At no other Christmas in my lifetime has the issue of peace stood more significantly in the backdrop of our lives.We are living in a time of war… when the world is filled with the knowledge of hatreds and mistrust.
Yesterday… a new government was pronounced in Afghanistan… surrounded by ‘peacekeeping’ troops to control the tendency towards ethnic violence.
Today… as the city of Bethlehem… the Bethlehem hotel which has 210 rooms for all who come to celebrate Christmas Eve in the town of Christ’s birth…announced it has 208 vacancies.
It has been almost three thousand years since Isaiah made his prophecy. Of those years only about three hundred of them are recorded without some war going on somewhere on the face of the earth.
During this time we are told there have been almost eight thousand peace treaties made and broken.
Still we sense that the celebration of Christmas… birth of Christ… offers a hope unlike any other… a work which offers peace even in a world of conflict.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the famous Christmas truce that occurred during
World War I, on Christmas Eve of 1914, that first year of the War. German and
British forces were facing each other on the battlefield, each in their muddy
trenches, separated by a strip of flat, ugly land intersected with barbed wire.
The air was cold and frosty, of course, because it was winter, and
things were very quiet. Both sides had to keep alert, however, as there was
the odd shadowy figure creeping across the no-man’s land.
Suddenly, the British soldiers were amazed to see lights coming on,
along the line of then enemy trenches. Then came the unbelievable sound of
singing— German soldiers raising their voices to "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht"
— the familiar verses of "Silent Night" ending in "...sleep in heavenly
peace". When the sound died away, the British soldiers replied with "The First
Back and forth, the singing went on for about an hour. Then there were
voices of invitation to cross over to enemy lines. One German with great
courage started walking across the "no man’s land", and was soon followed by
some of his buddies, all with their hands in their pockets to show that they
had no weapons.
When they’d crossed over to the enemy trench, one German soldier said,
"I’m a Saxon, you are Anglo-Saxons. Why do we fight?"
The soldiers on both sides started to talk together and decided to
declare peace for one day, beginning in the morning, Christmas morning. As
Christmas Day passed, without the usual noise of gunfire and mortar-fire, even
the wild birds returned, and the soldiers fed them.
The high commanders on both sides were very displeased. They knew that
friendships formed between declared enemies would hinder the business of
What of the peace within us? Safe to say that the human soul longs for peace as much as it ever has..
· Social scientists say that anxiety comes from rapid change… and that such change has become so rapid that it’s off the charts.
· Survey taken by the National Center for Health & Statistics… found more than half have suffered moderate to excessive stress in the past two weeks.
· Government says it costs the U.S. economy 150 billion dollars / year in losses due to stress related problems.