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Tag Archive | "Peace on Earth"

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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Peace on Earth


Solon-Center-Wesleyan-webPastor Tom Holloway

Solon Center Wesleyan Church

15671 Algoma, Cedar Springs 

(just north of 19 Mile)

 

The holidays are here and that means families get functions, work parties, Christmas programs, and most of all stress! The holidays can be the “most wonderful time of the year,” and also the most painful for many people. For some people it will be the first Christmas without a loved one, the first Christmas without a significant other, the first Christmas without a warm place to sleep. Yet it is for many the best time of the year.

I love celebrating Christmas with my family and my loved ones, and I love giving gifts. I love seeing my children’s eyes light up when they get that thing that they never thought they would get. Of course we can’t give all of the things we would like to give, and my wife and I have basically given up on giving each other anything significant, though I always spend more than I promise to spend on her. As a pastor of a local church, Christmas is the second busiest season of the year next to Easter. So it is one thing after another, and it is the most stressful time of the year for me personally. Yet I still manage to find some peace at Christmas. The question is why?

Why can some people feel stress and some people feel peace? Why is this time of year the best of times for some, and the worst of times for others? I think the answer is the real reason for the season. The birth of Jesus is the reason we celebrate Christmas, though some in the world would try to disagree. In fact, Jesus’ birth is the reason that we count the years on a calendar.  The term Anno Domini is medieval Latin, translated as In the year of the Lord, or AD on your calendar. He is the reason that we count time. When Jesus came to the earth He came to give us peace. In fact is says this in Isaiah 9:6: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

I don’t think that peace means a life of solitude and a life free from stress and worry. In fact Jesus came into the world in a time of great unrest for His people the Israelites. They were under Roman rule, and they had lost the great power they once had. It was anything but peaceful for Israel and for Jesus. He was persecuted, beaten, mocked, and eventually crucified on a cross for doing nothing wrong. Doesn’t seem very peaceful to me! But He defeated death by His resurrection, and by showing us how to have peace “despite” our circumstances. He allowed us to believe that this kind of peace is possible.

So when you are out shopping and that person snatches that last Furby, or when that crazy uncle comes to the family gathering and starts that political argument, or when you realize that this will be the first Christmas without that special someone, you can have peace.  Peace in knowing that someone loved you so much that they came from Heaven, from their rightful throne, and gave up all their rights so that they could come and serve you and show us how to love others. Christmas is all about giving to others because you have been given the greatest gift you could ever receive—the gift of Jesus, the gift of love, and the gift of eternal life!

 

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