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Summary: As the shepherds were told by the angels of the birth of Jesus, they had to make a decision to act on the information. We too must look for God in everyday events, know that God’s plan is for peace and then do what God tells us.

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“Unwrapping God’s Peace”

12/19/04

Intro: Only 5 shopping days left until Christmas! Are you finished? Do you have to face the crowds at the mall? How about the traffic? What parties do you still have left to buy a “white elephant” gift for?

Sometimes it seems like Christmas will never get here. Other times it seems like it will never be over. How’s your holiday stress level? Do you have to buy too many presents without enough budget?

Holiday stress is a major issue. If you Google “Holiday Stress” there are 3,840,000 articles on stress.

Maybe you feel a little bit like this guy who can’t figure out how to deal with it all.

** Show clip from “Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Sometimes I think we all need to step back and get a new perspective on the season.

Let’s unwrap today’s gift and see what it is.

**Unwrap painting of an eye

What does an eye have to do with God’s peace?

Today we are going to look at the passage that our buddy Linus read to see three principles of peace for our lives.

I. Look for God in everyday events

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.”

Luke 2:8-9(NAS)

The shepherds had no idea what was going to happen. They went to work planning to sit around the fire and make sure no wolves attacked the sheep. Suddenly, God’s messengers show up.

A spiritual focus gives us a spiritual perspective of life.

We can easily get caught up in the details of life that we miss opportunities that are presented to us each day.

God desires us to live for eternal matters.

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.”

Colossians 3:1-2(The Message)

When we get in focus God’s view, we begin to see more clearly the spiritual dimension of life.

** God brought Monty and Connie from a hospital in Joplin, MO to one of the best NICU hospitals in the country. He placed them in a place where we could support them. God showed up in this real life situation.

II. God’s plan is for peace.

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’”

Luke 2:10-14(NAS)

The angels announce to the shepherds the arrival of Christ.

The birth of Jesus is the beginning of God’s plan for peace for humanity.

The angels tell them they have good news that will bring joy to all people of the earth. Messiah has been born. The one who can bring man into relationship with God.

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Romans 5:1(NLT)

To have peace on earth, we must have peace with God.

So many of us spend our lives running after the things of earth hoping they will fulfill our lives. What we find is that they leave us feeling empty, guilty, and broken.

III. Do what God tells you.

“When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.”

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