Everyone wants peace. Peace in our homes; peace between nations; peace in the Middle East; and even peace in our hearts. But what is this peace that we universally long for? Is it just a feeling of tranquility? Is it an attitude that simply says, “Can’t we all just get along?”
The longing for peace is deepened in the face of increased violence and hostility between people. Marriages crumble, families fall apart, political parties squabble, nations divide, and rulers threaten war. Social media, which was created to help people develop and maintain relationships, serves often as a venue for verbal aggression and the pursuit of conflict. And now, while Christmas approaches with songs of “peace on earth” filling the air, retail stores become battlegrounds, as parents seek the must-have toy of the year for their children.
Could it really be that a miraculously-conceived baby, born in a no-account town called Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago is the key to peace on earth? In the Bible, peace has to do with unity, harmony, and wholeness. One might say that it pictures everything in its proper place, in its proper relationship with everything else.
To put everything and everyone in its proper place is something only God can do. In famous Christmas words, the prophet Isaiah announced the child to be born some 700 years after his day and referred to him as “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:5). But it is his death, not his birth, that brings peace. He is the ruler who would accomplish lasting peace on earth, but in a shocking way.
The peace that we most need is the peace that we often forget about: peace with God. The baby we remember at Christmas, Jesus, became the ultimate peacemaker by submitting to a shameful execution in place of us who were at war with God. God was pleased to make peace with rebellious humanity through the death of his Son (Colossians 1:19-20). We experience that peace with God when we trust Jesus, and only then can we possibly enjoy the wholeness that the Bible calls “peace.”
Mr. Justin Langley is Minister of Discipleship of Kilgore Bible Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.kilgorebiblechurch.org.