Peace | Advent 2020
“It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven’s all-gracious King
How can we sing about peace at Christmastime when life is torn with strife, division, fear, and angst? The year 2020 has shaken all we considered normal, tossing us into a stormy sea we struggle to navigate. Peace is indeed among the many things we need this season!
What exactly is peace? One first-century writer eloquently distinguished the difference between external and internal peace: “While the emperor may give peace from war on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion, grief, and envy; he cannot give peace of heart, for which man yearns for more than even outward peace.”1
If this unpredictable, tumultuous year of 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we crave peace and we can’t manufacture it ourselves. Though we may seek it, a life free of conflict is illusive. We long for freedom from wars, violence, danger, sickness, pain, and anxiety. We have the promise of peace from God that permeates our souls regardless of these and any stressors.
Take a moment and assess the state of your soul. Is your heart resting in Jesus? Are you embroiled in anxiety or stress and aching for peace? Maybe you’re living on your own, fearful about your health or needing financial provision? You need Jesus’ peace, the kind that sits right in your chair with you, in the middle of your human stress and fear, bathing you in the extraordinary comfort that only His presence brings.
Maybe you’re a momma with littles, or not-so-littles, who feels the sometimes-crushing weight of caring and providing for your children. You need His peace, the peace that wraps you in His arms during your sleepless nights or grants wisdom in the middle of the arguments and contention that boil to the surface when homebound siblings are cooped up too long. He alone is your peace.
It’s human to wish for the absence of conflict, but our soul—our truest self—will always ache more deeply for internal, holy peace. We can have that supernatural peace. Isaiah prophesied the coming Prince of Peace roughly 700 years before the angels heralded the news of His arrival to a ragged band of shepherds tending sheep on the Bethlehem hillside that glorious night. Two thousand years later, Jesus is still the source and message of peace for a weary world. He offers—to any who will come near—the gift of himself because He is the promised peace, the Prince of Peace.
Jesus knew we all hunger for peace when He promised, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27, ESV).
May you know the Prince of Peace as your source of true peace in these troubling times. May you be awed by His power and presence, lovingly meeting you when you need peace most throughout this Christmas season.
1David Guzik, Luke, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Luke 2:9–14.