If I told you there is peace on earth, you might call me crazy.
Where is peace? Nearly every man-made institution grapples with the illusive longing for world peace. Natural disasters wreak havoc across the globe every second. Conflicts and wars erupt so consistently they bleed together in our history books. Families are falling apart, crime winds through our streets like the angel of death and we find no recourse to stop the madness. Where is peace?
I promise you peace is here, but like the restless nation of Israel 2000 years ago, we are looking in all the wrong places. A song by Casting Crowns illumines that ancient mysterious peace with words that reach into our own generation:
Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight
Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for it's King
While you were sleeping
Christ's birth was the pivotal moment in history; world peace became not merely an abstract idea, but a tangible promise robed in human flesh. That night in Bethlehem God sent the Prince of Peace.
"And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
That night, very few people recognized Peace. Only a handful of shepherds came to claim Him as their own; weeks later a few wise men acknowledged this gift of God. But most of the world went on as usual. Most of the world remained ignorant of prophecy's fulfillment, of God's reconciliation, of God's extension of Peace to the world.
Even as the angels declared it from the heavens, the world slept. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased," Luke 2:14.
The next morning, oblivious to the arrival of Peace, men resumed their struggles for personal power, political advancement and temporary truces. For the next 33 years, the known world beheld Peace in flesh and blood. A few recognized Him, spoke to Him, listened to Him and followed Him as He taught them the ways of peace. "To give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Luke 1:79
His peace surpassed all their understanding, because unlike the world's temporary peace, His would never leave, dissipate or disappoint. "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matt. 28:20.
And He gave them His own peace, "But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. John 14:26-27
The rest of the world continued in darkness. "And when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it, saying, 'Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace...you did not know the time of your visitation.'"
The Prince of Peace physically came to earth about 2000 years ago. When He ascended to the Father, He left His peace and promised to never forsake us. But often in the chaos and pursuit of the feeling of peace, we ignore the Person of Peace who resides within those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Today, even many Christians search for peace in the change of policies, powers and principles. We assume peace will accompany morality, movements and more godly men. If we could only feed the hungry, fuel the planet and fund the church, then we might find peace. But we are missing our day of visitation, the presence of the Prince of Peace is among us.
In John 1, Jesus is also called The Word. Everyday, we have the choice to linger with Him, consume Him, follow Him, proclaim Him, know Him and experience the Prince of Peace. The evidence of His presence in our lives is our love for each other.
"A new commandment I give to you: Love one another as I have loved you. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." John 13:34
Peace walks the streets of our cities. Peace pervades the air of our homes. Peace for the world lives in the hands and hearts of Christians. When we love as Christ loved, the world will recognize Him. Only the revelation of the Prince of Peace will restore peace to the world.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
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