December 08, 2014
The Gift of Peace
Devotion for the Week...
This is the second week of Advent. My devotion for the first week of Advent was The Gift of Hope.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives" (John 14:27). For some reason, I kept thinking especially of the part when He says, "I do not give to you as the world gives." At first I had a hard time figuring out where to go with that since it didn't seem to really apply to Christmas, but then I realized it actually does fit perfectly with Christmas.
The world offers us the expectation of peace as we approach Christmas. Christmas cards show peaceful, perfect scenes, carols tell of silent nights and winter wonderlands, and commercials show us how simple it will be to find the perfect gift for everyone. We unconsciously take in the message that Christmas is supposed to be perfect, peaceful and calm.
Really, though, the world's offer of peace at Christmas is only an illusion. The world's Christmas emphasis is always on more...more...more.
Spend more, eat more, attend more parties, put up more lights and more inflatable decorations, buy more decorations for inside the house and bake more treats. December can feel like a giant to-do list, with no space for quiet, no time for rest.
Coupled with the expectation of rest and peace, this "most wonderful time of the year" can feel like the most stressful time of the year if we're not careful.
Jesus, on the other hand, offers us His peace. Romans 5:1,2 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand." Peace with God is possible only through Jesus, through faith in Him as our Savior.
Before Jesus died on the cross for us, the Jews followed a set of laws that governed the animal sacrifices that were required for the forgiveness of sins. The sacrifices had to be repeated according to a set schedule because no animal could be a permanent solution to the problem of sin. But Jesus is the Lamb of God, the only One who could take away sin permanently and open the way for us to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Because our sin is forgiven, we have peace with God.
Jesus' physical birth, which we celebrate at Christmas, was the first step in God's plan to give us that peace. So because of Christmas, we have peace. And the peace Jesus gives is no illusion.