Luke 2:8-14, 3:2-6 & Isaiah 11:1-9
I have many Christmas tapes and cds. I love to listen to the different artists sing even if they are singing the same songs. One of the cds I have is by the singer, Amy Grant. On this cd she sings a song by David Foster and Linda Thompson Jenner titled, “Grown-up Christmas List. This song reminisces about how when we were young, we sat on Santa’s knee and told him about our childhood fantasies but then it goes on to speak about being all grown up and what a grown up Christmas wish list looks like. If you have listened to any Christmas music over the last couple of decades I am sure you have heard this song too. Let me share some of the lyrics:
“No more lives torn apart ,
And wars will never start,
And time will heal the heart.
Everyone will have a friend
And right will always win,
And love will never end.
This is My Grown-up Christmas List.”
This song is about more than presents – it is even about more than family and friends. This Christmas list is about the dream or wish for peace. Peace is more than the absence of war, it is about healing the heart, right always winning and the kind of love that never ends. I would guess that if asked most of us would wish for this type of peace above anything else. I have to tell you though, this is one Christmas wish that Santa can’t give.
So how do we find peace? Peace can seem to be so illusive and hard to grasp! Is peace something that can be found?
As I was preparing this message the news reports of San Bernadino were still fresh. The media was sharing all the information and then I starting reading and hearing other statistics that claimed that in the US there has been a mass shooting (4 or more people) nearly every day this year. So I have to ask again, how do we find peace?
My first response to myself and to others comes from Jesus words in John 14:27. Jesus told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”
As people who live in a world that is constantly facing violence, we speak of wanting peace by hoping for the end of war or violence.
Now that is a wonderful thought and I look forward to the day that we can experience that type of peace but Jesus promised something better. Jesus gives a peace that the world does not offer. Jesus gives us the peace that we can only experience through him.
These two kinds of peace are completely different.
World peace is a huge picture of everyone depending on everyone to get along and be peaceful.
Jesus peace is based on each person having a relationship with the Prince of Peace.
That’s my point this morning. Finding peace is an individual search that ends when we accept for ourselves the love of Jesus in our hearts. Peace comes when we are right with God through Jesus Christ.
This is the peace that calms us in the storms and releases the fears in times of trouble.
Mary must have had this peace as she began life with the reality that she was carrying the Son of God.
Joseph found that peace when he followed the words of the angel who told him to take Mary as his wife and to name the child that would be born, Jesus, for he will save his people.
What does this peace from Jesus look and feel like for us?
Let me share with you an image of the peace I am speaking of this morning. This illustrations come from David Leninger in a sermon he wrote. David and his wife, Christie were driving their new born daughter home from the hospital. It was a trip they would never forget. Let me share his story in his own words:
We were surrounded by a series of tornados, millions of dollars in damage, and seventy people killed. We were driving from Camden, South Carolina, to our home in the little village of Liberty Hill, a trip that would normally take about 25 minutes; this day the trip would take three-and-a-half hours. Trees were down, utility poles snapped, live power lines were dangling, and debris was all over the road.
Suddenly a hail storm descended that, quite frankly, scared me half to death. I was convinced that there was no way our car windows would be able to survive it and that we would find ourselves in the middle of that terrible storm stranded on the highway with a newborn baby. The noise in the car was deafening as the hail continued to pound relentlessly down. We may as well have been sitting in a tin can with someone beating a tattoo on us with drumsticks. As it turned out, the damage to the car was worth well over $1,000, not an insignificant sum back then (or now, for that matter).
I looked over at Christie who was holding Erin tightly to herself. Christie was as scared as I was. Then I looked at Erin. She was sound asleep — not a worry in the world. She had peace in the midst of that awful storm.
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Some would say, “Sure, Erin was peaceful in that storm; she could afford to be peaceful — her worries were taken care of, and she was too young to know any different.” That’s true and it is exactly the point of this message. Jesus offers all of us this kind of “worries taken care of” peace that comes from a childlike trust. All we have to do is accept it and trust Him.
If we could find the peace that baby Erin had through our relationship with Jesus, it could take the fear and anxieties of this life, out of our hearts and would help us to be more open to being in a peaceful relationship with others.
This week on our Facebook page we asked for images of peace and I found not so much a picture but a prayer that I think best describes how to find peace:
“Dear Lord, Into Your hands, I place my worries, cares, and troubles. Into Your wisdom I place my path, direction and my goal. Into Your love I place my life.”
Can we honestly say this prayer and truly mean each phrase? If we can, we could find a true sense of peace.
Now, like some of the new technology allows grown men and women to be a part of fantasy football…. I want to invite you to my fantasy world…What if each individual person truly found the peace that Jesus gives? Would that lead to what we sing in another song…”Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…”
You see, if every person could grasp the peace that comes from Jesus, maybe what the angels sang could become a reality! “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Could individual peace really lead to world peace? I have to believe it would be a great start!!
This Advent if you are looking for peace start by looking to the manger. Find the baby Jesus – and you will find Jesus!