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Peace on Earth

Pastor Robert P. Smith of First Baptist Church, 233 Main St, Cedar Springs

The promise of Christmas is “Peace on earth.”  The key to our peace, both in our seasonal celebration of traditions and in our spiritual celebration of Truth, begins and ends with God.  This is a true statement: “No God. No peace. Know God. Know peace.” The Bible says that God himself is our peace and through His Son, Jesus Christ—the Prince of Peace—peace can be known.

World War I had been raging for only four months. It was already proving to be one of the bloodiest wars in history. Soldiers were weakened by the weather and by the war. They were trapped in trenches, 60 yards away from each other, covered in mud, and exposed to the cold, wet winter weather. In a place where blood was mingled with the mud, something surprising occurred on the front that Christmas in 1914. Men from both sides, who lay shivering in the trenches, set aside their weapons and hatred, if only temporarily, seemingly embraced by Christmas peace, and greeted each other on “No Man’s Land.”

One of our festive holiday songs says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…it’s the hap—happiest season of all.”  For many this time of the year is filled with anything but happiness. This season overflows with stress, grief, anxiety, and conflict.  Many people find themselves frustrated, dissatisfied, miserable, and angry even over small matters like waiting in line at the store or at the traffic signal. “There is no peace on earth,” they say. 

What about you? What do you say? Is your “Christmas peace” as fragile as a sheet of tissue paper used in wrapping gifts? Is your joy a façade like the artificial reindeer on your neighbor’s lawn? This Christmas can be different from all others. In the words of Charles Wesley’s carol, Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, “Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” In the words of another Charles, “This is what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown.”

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