Summary: A parable comparing a jigsaw with a piece missing to Christmas without Christ.

Here’s a Christmas cracker type of puzzle: "Why is Christmas without Jesus like this jigsaw?" (Hold up a picture made to look like a jigsaw but with a piece missing.) Answer: "Because it’s got a piece missing!" Of course the word ’piece’ of the jigsaw is spelt differently from in the Christmas story. How is it spelt in the Bible story? Yes, it’s ’PEACE’.

That was the angels’ song to the shepherds on the night that Jesus was born, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests" (Luke 2:14).

This was wonderful news for mankind because God had broken into the world in a way that would affect everyone and would be a turning point of history.

The word ’peace’ is very special. It’s something that is talked about on the radio and TV. The newspapers are always writing about the need for the nations to be at peace with each other and people to live in harmony. But the fact that there’s so much said about peace only shows that it hasn’t come about in the way the angels said. Why is this?

It’s because mankind hasn’t accepted the message of the angels about Jesus. The angel who first spoke to the shepherds announced that "a Saviour has been born to you: he is Christ the Lord." Yes, Jesus is the Saviour of the world. He lived a perfect life and so was able to make atonement for the sins of mankind when He died on the Cross. But it’s only when each person believes and trusts in Jesus as their personal Saviour that God’s peace is given.

Peace doesn’t come by force. God’s ways are different to human beings; He sends a baby and tells His army of angels to sing, rather than fight, about the coming Saviour. But only when the message of the baby is made our own will there be peace. Only when sin is forgiven and love reigns wars will cease. The real message of the angels was "Peace to all men and women on earth who please God."

Christmas without Christ is like a nicely wrapped box given as a present, but with no present inside! Make sure you’ve got the real thing this Christmas.

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