The following is the last in a four part series on preparing your heart for the Christmas Season. It has been adapted from a sermon called “Preparing Your Heart for the Christmas Season” delivered at Hope Community Church by Steve Treichler on November 30, 2003.
What does it mean that Jesus is the Prince of Peace? Does it mean that if we follow Him, our lives will be always wonderful, happy, and never have any problems? Does it mean that we will never have war on our soil if we follow God? Does it mean that life will become as “peaceful” as some of those coffee comercials or just “Calgon, take me away” moments of peace in the bathtub? Is that what peace Christ offers?
Listen to what Jesus said in John 14:27:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
What does He mean when he says “I do not give to you as the world gives.”? We can tell from Matthew 10:34-36 that he doesn’t mean an uncomplicated life when Jesus talks about peace:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “`a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
Well, what kind of peace does He offer then? If our peace is not in our circumstances, or in the fact that we still may have war on our soil, or that all of our relationships will be easy and uncomplicated since we are followers of Christ, then what kind of peace does this “Prince of Peace” offer! I want peace for my soul! How does Jesus offer this?!
We are at War
In order to answer this question, we first need to understand something quite radical–that peace only makes sense as in opposition to war. You and I are in a war with something, and Christ has come to bring us peace to this war.
But who are we at war with? Who is our enemy that we so desparately need to have a cease fire with? Who is it that is the “Superpower” in our lives that is demanding that we live a certain way and if we don’t will declare war upon us?
The answer may surprise you, but it is God. God is the One who is our enemy that Christ came to bring peace from. You see, you and I are not unlike Germany in World War II. We have defied God, thumbed our nose at Him and said, “We know your ways, but we are going to do it our way, not yours. Get lost, and stay out of my life! Keep your morals to yourself! If I want you to interfere with my plans, I’ll let you know. I will live my life my own way, thank you very much. Now go away!”
Listen to how Paul describes this war in Romans 5
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. . . You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
—Romans 5:1-2, 6-10
While you and I were still sinners, completely opposed to God and all His ways, Christ died for us, causing peace to happen between us and God if we will just allow Him to be our instrument of peace. If you have never accepted Christ into your life as your personal Savior, as your personal peace giver to God, you need to know that there is still a war going on inside your soul. God is the One who is the Superpower, right and holy in all His ways, and we have totally offended Him. You and I are designed to have peace with God, and will never be satisfied until we do. If you have never done so, allow Christ into your life, turning from your own ways to His, asking Him into your life to take away your sin and making you new. Commit yourself to follow Him and be His ally and not His enemy any longer.
That is the Christmas message; a little baby born in a manger came to earth to end the war that we have with God. He is our peace. He is our reconciler, since He Himself paid the price for our crimes against God in His death on the cross. I can think of no greater gift that peace with God for Christmas, and it is yours through Christ.
An Opportunity to Enjoy
Let me offer you the words of the Grinch:
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!
This Christmas, may you enjoy Christ. Really enjoy Him. He is your Christmas present, the One who will bring wonder and counsel to your life like no one has or can. He is the Mighty God. He is your loving Father. He is the Prince of Peace. Allow Him to be these things in your life this Christmas season. Make Him the priority He deserves to be in your life, and a funny thing will surprise you. As you make Him first in your life, you will get the joy and satisfaction you so long for. Give Him the place He deserves this year, and you will be filled.