Devotions this week based on Sunday’s Message: Peace is the Heart of Christmas! (LISTEN HERE)
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
These words of the angels are familiar at Christmas time. Perhaps the phrase that is taken from this context is “Peace on earth.” This phrase appears all over decorations, store decor, home wall-hangings, and words of radio DJ’s.
Peace on earth resonates so well because we all want it. Perhaps for a brief season of the year we can bring to an end, or at least a pause, all the things that disrupt our peace.
And they are many.
A short listen to the news and the word of inflation and economic woes coupled with crime and wars and rumors of war, scandals, and political corruption. Can’t that all just go away?
It doesn’t take much to disrupt the peace in our hearts. An email that carries bad news. A text message that expresses frustration. A smash and grab of your purse from your car. An illness that is worse than expected. A loved one lost to disease and death. A financial emergency that you don’t have money to cover.
Again the list is long.
Sometimes it may feel that the words of the angels are like the false prophets in Jeremiah 6:13-14 whom God condemned as they proclaimed a false peace.
Jeremiah 6:13-14 “From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.
14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.
That’s just how it feels sometimes. Peace on earth? Ba humbug!
Yet the pithy phrase that seems superficial has a depth that God wants us all to receive as his gift and enjoy…amidst all the things that go on in our life and around us that give reason for our peace to be disrupted.
At the heart of the gift of peace is the Son of God wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.
Perhaps a nuance of the word “Shalom” helps. At the heart of this Hebrew word is a “perfection” or “balance.” Shalom, often translated “peace,” is a rich picture of what our hearts desire and what God gives.
Like a scale, our hearts desire a balance, a perfect equilibrium. When things are out of balance, it disrupts our peace. Shalom is also a wholeness, a state of being where there is no imperfection.
Are you beginning to see the heart of God to bring “shalom” (peace) at Christmas?
Peace comes to those “on whom God’s favor rests.”
The world offers temporary solutions to a lack of peace (peace treaties, financial stimuli, relationship quick fixes, etc.), but the result is simply a temporary fix. However the eternal God sends an eternal peace to the world and specifically to our hearts. It’s this peace that truly puts our hearts at balance and a state of wholeness…even when the circumstances around us are a bit in chaos.
More to come this week.
Apply: List the things that are disrupting your peace today. How might God’s gift of peace through Jesus begin to restore peace in your heart?
Prayer: Lord, you give a peace the world cannot give. Help us discover or rediscover the wonderful gift you give us at Christmas in the reality of Shalom! AMEN.