When I hear the word “peace” the voice of Linus from A Charlie Brown Christmas starts in my head. I’m 55 and I still remember a cartoon kid reciting seven small verses from Luke 2 ending with “…and on earth peace, good will toward men.” I was nine years old when that TV special was released.
In those days, the 1960s, my elementary school placed a Christmas tree in its small lobby and asked students to bring canned goods wrapped in white tissue paper. We also memorized those same verses from Luke’s Gospel. When it came time to deliver the canned goods to the local orphanage, every student stood around the piles of small white packages speaking those precious words of the one who came to bring peace and good will.
Oh the fond memories of doing that every year. I look back now and realize my classmates and I were bringing peace and good will to children who were so desperately in need.
Peace brings peace.
However, children grow up to become adults, and peace becomes complicated and elusive. I believe we Christians struggle with peace as much as those who don’t have faith in God.
I just happen to be one of those Christian women who has difficulty experiencing the peace of God. That’s why I say, “it’s easier said than done.”
My love for Christ is deep, and knowing how much he loves me overwhelms me at the thought. I’m so very grateful for the new life salvation provides. Yet I still find it hard to allow the peace he brings into every area of my life.
When I make a mistake and blow it, I beat myself up.
When someone hurts me, I obsess over why they don’t care for me.
When I lose my temper, the outburst is played over and over in my head.
When a relationship is broken, I dwell on everything I could have done differently.
This isn’t peace; in fact it’s the opposite. A friend shared John 16:33 with me years ago because he watched me struggle in these areas of my life and wanted to help.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
God’s son came to earth so when mistakes, hurts, bad tempers, and broken relationships happen Jesus’ peace would bring his perspective, not ours.
At this time of year, I’m reminded of the prophet Isaiah’s words:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace…when my prayers are pleas for peace in what I’m experiencing, this is the one in whom I must trust.
In Christ, peace is no longer complicated and elusive.
As a child of God, I’m obligated to let his peace rule my life.
Until Jesus comes again to establish true, lasting peace there will always be things that bring trouble. But God has given us a promise. Our response, my response, must be to allow his peace to rule in our hearts so that we’re able to share his peace with others.
Read Luke 2. Remember the angels’ words. Let the peace of Christ be yours.
By sharing her personal faith experiences, her thoughts about following Jesus and what it's like being part of his church, she hopes to help some navigate a new journey and challenge those already on the journey as they travel the faith road together.