Summary: We have peace with God, then we have the peace of God. We also look into how peace comes to us and the price of peace.
Jesus Our Prince of Peace
Down deep inside all of us long to have a great desire to be at peace, within ourselves, within our families and all those we interact with.
Humanity’s quest for peace is illustrated by the architecture constructed in symbolic fashion in many countries.
If the Statue of Liberty means anything, it means we are offering a gesture of peace to those who come to live within this country.
In Israel there is a statue called the Statue of Shalom, the Statue of Peace, which looks over out over the harbor of Haifa.
In Tokyo in front of the Tokyo station stands a robust statue with arms outstretched toward heaven. Underneath the statue in Greek and Japanese is the word agape, love, a testimony to the desire of the Japanese people for there to be peace between their country and others.
In most every part of the world there is some symbolic representation of humanity’s quest after peace.
Some countries have even gone further than statues. A man from Santo Domingo was so burdened about world peace he allowed himself to be nailed to a cross as a sacrifice for world peace. This man, Patrice Tomao, had planned to remain on the cross for 48 hours, but he had to cut it short after 20 hours because of an infection that developed in his foot. The newspaper read the next day, “Crucifixion for Peace Falls Short.”
That headline could summarize everything that has been done in our world to find peace. All of it seems to fall short. None of it ever seems to reach its desired end.
The problem is not a problem with nations. It’s a problem with human nature.
The nature of a humanity which is separated from God. As long as that nature remains untouched and unchanged, the outer trappings of peace will always mock us by their inability to accomplish the goal. Not until a person knows what it means to be at peace with himself in his own heart, in his relationship with his Creator, and then with those who are the creatures of the Creator, can a person know what it means to have peace in a true sense.
There is a peace in our culture today that is brought on by tranquilizers, liquor and other drugs. There is a kind of peace in a mental institution. There’s a kind of peace that comes from being brainwashed. Sometimes we think we are at peace when we are just controlling our panic.
True peace gives not only a calm exterior, but a very quiet inside as well.
The peace God talks about is first of all an individual, a personal peace. It has to start there. We all want to start on the outside trying to get nations or communities together. But God doesn’t start on the outside. He starts at the core, and the core of peace is the individual.
The peace of Christmas guides our hearts
In more than a few past wars, the warring nations would call a cease-fire for Christmas Day. They would agree that on Christmas Day they wouldn’t shoot at each other, drop bombs on each other, or try to destroy one another. Then, of course, the day after Christmas they would start killing each other again.
This story has been told in a variety of ways, but this is the researched version that appeared in newspapers nationwide on December 25, 1994 from the Associated Press, dateline London.
Eighty years ago, on the first Christmas Day of World War I, British and German troops put down their guns and celebrated peacefully together in the no-man’s land between the trenches. The war, briefly, came to a halt.
In some places, festivities began when German troops lit candles on Christmas trees on their parapets so the British sentries a few hundred yards away could see them.
Elsewhere, the British acted first, starting bonfires and letting off rockets.
Pvt. Oswald Tilley of the London Rifle Brigade wrote to his parents: “Just you think that while you were eating your turkey etc. I was out talking and shaking hands with the very men I had been trying to kill a few hours before! It was astounding.”
Both armies had received lots of comforts from home and felt generous and well-disposed toward their enemies in the first winter of the war, before the vast battles of attrition began in 1915, eventually claiming ten million lives.
All along the line that Christmas Day, soldiers found their enemies were much like them and began asking why they should be trying to kill each other.
The generals were shocked. High Command diaries and statements express anxiety that if that sort of thing spread it could sap the troops’ will to fight.