The Peace of Advent
This question was once asked, "If you could choose what you want most in life, what would you ask for?" The most common answer was "Peace."
People want peace in their marriages, families, workplaces, country and world. Our country has some of the best medical and psychological treatment centers, highest educational institutions and worldwide communication abilities. Yet with all of these things, most people are yet without true inner peace. The results are devastating... broken marriages, split families, hatred, rebellion, financial anxiety, a country unsettled.
The world will offer you peace through many forms of escapism... drugs, alcohol, immoral relationships, constant entertainment. It is sought through all forms of pleasure, self-satisfaction and positive thinking. Many believe that peace is defined as the absence of trouble. They refuse to face the problems in their lives believing that this is finding peace. The world, however, has never held the answer to true peace.
You can choose to have true peace. True peace comes not from man but from God. This peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5: 22.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, Good will toward men.
The old King James Version translated verse 14b, “and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Virtually all the modern translations agree that this was not an accurate translation.
The NIV says, “ . . . and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
The NASB says, “. . . and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.”
And the ESV says, “. . . and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Peace among those with whom he is pleased. The word “Goodwill” in the Greek implies, the salvation plan of God, redemption to all who will believe in God’s plan,
The point is that, even though God’s offer of peace goes out to all, only the people who receive Christ and trust him as Savior and Messiah and Lord, will experience the peace he brings.
But without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
So Christmas does not bring peace to all.
“This is the judgment,” Jesus said, “the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Or as the aged Simeon said when he saw the child Jesus, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed . . . so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34–35).
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Oh, how many there are who look out on a bleak and chilly Christmas day and see no more than that — a sign to be opposed.
“He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11–12).
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
It was only to his disciples that Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
The people who enjoy the peace of God that surpasses all understanding are those who in everything by prayer and supplication let their requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6–7).
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
The key that unlocks the treasure chest of God’s peace is faith in the promises of God.
So Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13).
13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
And when we do trust the promises of God and have joy and peace and love, then God is glorified.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!
Everyone — from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation — will experience a peace that surpasses all understanding only when faith is applied toward the good news of Jesus Christ.
Do you have this peace living with your heart?
Most reject God's peace because they surrender to their own selfishness and their lust for the pleasures of this world. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you." A legacy of inner peace is offered to all who know Jesus Christ, regardless of their circumstances.
In these days of uncertainty and distress, will you receive Jesus Christ into your life? He is the Giver of eternal life and the Prince of Peace!