Summary: Looking at the Peace Jesus gives at Christmas

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Christmas Beyond Compare - Peace beyond Compare - Is 9:6-7

Gladstone Baptist Church - 5/12/04 pm

Tonight we are starting a Series of 3 messages leading up to Christmas. Christmas is one of the most amazing times of the year. Why is it so amazing - It is amazing because at Christmas, Jesus gives us gifts that are beyond compare. You think you’ve done well when someone this Christmas gives you that super dooper widget from the car place or that whatamacallit from the hardware or the thingemy bob from Big W. But these pale into insignificance in comparison to what God gives to us at Christmas. So this Christmas we are going to be looking at 3 gifts which are beyond compare. The first one I want to look at tonight is Peace. Next Sunday morning we’ll look at Joy beyond compare and then Christmas morning we’ll look at Hope beyond compare.

If someone were to ask you “What is Peace” how would you answer them. Peace is something that everyone wants, but no one has a clear understanding of what it is or how to get it.

I looked up the Oxford Dictionary to try to find out what Peace was all about and I found out that the dictionary says that Peace means

- Quiet, tranquillity; mental calm

- freedom from or cessation of war

- a treaty ending a war

- freedom from civil disorder

So peace seems to happen when conflict and problems are not present or when I am not anxious.

That is true - here are 5 circumstances when I don’t think many people would have much peace ...

1) When life’s POSITION is uncontrollable - we lose our peace. When we plan for one thing and something else happens instead we get frustrated. We don’t like a life that is out of control. (Job 30:26)

2) When PEOPLE are unchangeable - we lose our peace. “Why can’t they be more like me!!!” People are frustrating aren’t they - they make us lose our peace.

3) When PROBLEMS are unexplainable - we lose our peace. I am happy when I do something stupid and there are consequences, but what about cancer or illness or even death. Why does it happen to some and not others. Peace when facing those sort of circumstances is difficult to come by.

4) When PAIN is unbearable - we lose our peace. It hurts too much to be at peace with the world.

5) When the PAST is unforgiven - we lose our peace. Conflict still exists when people haven’t forgiven each other.

Peace seems impossible to achieve when you look at these things doesn’t it - there are always people causing trouble for us or problems that we can’t figure out or guilt that we can’t escape from. How can we ever get peace? The dictionary doesn’t help here, So I went to the internet and looked up “Getting Peace” and I found lots of ideas that people proposed to tell me how I could get peace.

One idea was MEDITATION .... I was told “Meditation does not mean renunciation of our desires but it guides us that while enjoying this beautiful world, we must not become slave of our desires. ... We should maintain balance between all these [desires] to enjoy happy and the relaxed life. When a person is able to do this he will never be unhappy in his life.” So all I have to do is meditate in order to control my desires. Great - I meditate on my desires in order to control thinking about my desires - sounds like a plan.

Another Idea was MEDICATION .... I read about a man who was ordering valium over the net in order to combat insomnia and Stress. He said “I’m getting “peace of mind. I have been on it for two years now. There are no problems and no side effects that I’m aware of." So medication is the way to get peace ... until the side effects kick in.

Another Idea was MEDIATION .... I was reading some old news articles about the Middle East Peace Plan. It was interesting to look back at a news article from April last year when the peace plan was brokered after months or years of mediation. But no soon was it released, than this was reported. “Soon after the new Mideast peace plan was delivered to Israeli and Palestinian leaders Wednesday, objections were raised about the so-called road map. The plan aims to establish Palestinian statehood by 2005. The Israelis have called for at least 15 changes to the road map and have said it should not be implemented until terror attacks on Israelis end”. So it doesn’t look like mediation is going to work either.

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