Summary: Jesus was born to bring us peace - that's what Isaiah declared and angels sang. But what does that mean? What kind of peace did Jesus come to give me, and how can I receive it?
The past few weeks we’ve been looking at the gifts Jesus was born to give us.
This week, we’re focusing on the gift of “peace” and (because today is Christmas) I wanted to start the sermon with a Christmas Carol that had peace as part of its message. But as I searched through my files I only found a couple of carols that had that word in it. One of them was this one. Sing it with me:
“It came upon a midnight clear that glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold
Peace on the earth, good will to men from Heaven's all gracious King
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing.”
That’s a beautiful carol isn’t it?
And it has a message about peace in its words:
“Peace on the earth, good will to men, from Heaven’s all gracious King”
Did you realize that was one of the reasons Jesus was born to bring “Peace to the Earth”
That’s what the Angels said
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth PEACE among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:14
And that’s what Isaiah declared:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end…” Isaiah 9:6-7
These were the proclamations BEFORE and AT His birth.
And they echo what Galatians tells us:
“…when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son....” Galatians 4:4
He was sent forth… He was born to bring us peace.
Well that is a little hard to believe.
I mean earth hasn’t been the most peaceful place to be - down thru history.
ILLUS: One there was one STUDY that said that:
Since 3600 B.C. the world has only known 292 years of peace. During this period there have been 14,531 wars, large and small, in which 3,640,000,000 people have been killed.
(The Canadian Army Journal)
THAT’S NOT PEACE!!!
But, of course, Jesus knew that was going to happen.
Jesus said: “… nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom...” Matthew 24:7
And He told His disciples: “In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33
As long as we live in this world there will be wars and conflicts.
As long as we live in this world there will be troubles and heartaches.
As long as there is sin in this world … there’s going to be all that stuff.
But that’s not the kind of peace Jesus was promising.
Jesus wasn’t promising to give us peace that was based on our circumstances
He was promising a peace in SPITE of our circumstances.
In spite of our conflicts.
In spite of our troubles.
You see a lot of people aren’t content – they aren’t at peace – unless their circumstances are just what they want in life. They’re not at peace UNLESS…
• they have the right kinds relationships
• or the right kind of job
• or the right kind of retirement package
• or the right kind of political party in power in the nation.
Unless those things are true in their lives, a lot of folks are just not at peace
Because… their circumstances dictate their peace.
ILLUS: A few days before Christmas a reporter named Lee, who worked for the Chicago Tribune - and an atheist, had written an article about a family called the Delgado’s:
There was the grandmother named Perfecta and her two granddaughters, Jenny age 13 and her sister Lydia 11 years old.
They lived on the west side of Chicago in a 2 room apartment with bare walls, no furniture, no rugs … nothing but a kitchen table and a handful of rice in the cupboards. The girls only had one short-sleeved dress apiece, plus a thin gray sweater that they shared. On cold days when the girls walked the ½ mile to school, one of the girls would start with the sweater and then give it to the other at the halfway mark.
It was all they had.
Perfecta wanted more for her granddaughters and would gladly have worked but her severe arthritis and age made work too difficult and painful. Lee’s article detailed their poverty in stark and powerful ways.
A few days after he wrote his article, he visited the Delgado’s again. His article had touched the hearts of many subscribers who responded with furniture and appliances, rugs, dozens of coats, scarves and gloves. The girls wouldn’t have to share a sweater any longer. There was cartons and cartons and boxes of food everywhere. They had so much food that the cupboards and closets couldn’t contain it. Someone had even donated a Christmas tree, and under it were mounds of presents and thousands of dollars in cash!