This is our second installment in our look at Advent. Advent iThis is our second installment in our look at Advent. Advent is a way we can try and focus our attention on Jesus during one of the busiest times of the year. Instead of focusing on the shopping list for Christmas dinner and worrying if your version of Uncle Eddie is going to come and make things awkward for everyone, let’s focus on why Christmas is a thing and what it is really about.
If you remember from last week, Advent simply means a coming into place or an arrival and for us when we talk about celebrating Advent we are talking about the coming or arrival of Christ. Last week we looked at the Hope that Christmas represents (if you missed it you can catch up here). It is the expected Hope that was promised to Old Testament Saints, realized in Christ’s birth, and ultimately the Hope of Heaven we now eagerly wait for. Again, take some time and look up each passage and read it with the family to discuss or just meditate on them yourself throughout your day and week.
Part 2 of Advent is “Peace”. Christmas is all about peace and in this devotional, we will ask about peace: why, how, and who?
Just like the promise of Hope was given in Genesis we see our need for peace back in Genesis. In Genesis 3 we see the fall of man and the curse that comes with it. After the first sin death enters the world. It would be hard work to survive, there would be marital strife, and the perfect shalom (peace) that God created the world in was shattered. In Genesis 3:24 we see that God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden and set a guard so they couldn’t get back in. The relationship they once enjoyed with God was broken and the perfect peace was gone. In reading through the Bible you only get through 2 chapters before peace is gone, and the rest of the Bible is full of conflict and struggle (even Revelation). Paul explains in Romans that this broken peace is hereditary and through Adam it has spread to all man. In Romans 5:10 Paul even calls us “enemies” of God. Even if you take off the lens of the Bible and look at this world you can see there is a desperate need for Peace. Our nation is divided. There are wars, natural disasters, abuse, slavery, and on and on it goes. Our world is looking for some semblance of peace and it cannot be found apart from Christ. Which brings us to the second question.
It’s often easy to identify a problem, and its often harder to identify the solution. It’s easy to look around and say we have a need for peace but what is the solution. The solution to our peace problem is Christmas. Not the cheesy Hallmark movies and overplayed Christmas jingles. The real Christmas, the first Christmas, that is the solution for peace. Sin is why we need peace and the solution to sin is Jesus. 1 John 2:2 explains that Jesus is the propitiation for our sins; He appeases the wrong of our sins. The only way our sin could be paid for was a perfect sacrifice. When Jesus came, He came for the sole purpose of being that sacrifice, to pay for our sins. That is exactly what John 3:16 tells us. Colossians 1 is one of my favorite chapters in all the Bible because of the depth and richness of Paul’s description of Jesus. In Colossians 1:20 Paul tells us that it is through the blood of Christ’s cross that He reconciles us and makes Peace between us and God. This reconciliation and peace is available to all who would believe it (Romans 10:9-10 ). So now we get to the who (and no I’m not talking about the band).
Most all world views offer some way of entering into peace with an omnipotent being or the universe or something. There are many different ways people think they can find peace in life. In probably one of the most iconic Christmas passages, Isaiah 9:6, we see that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. It is Him who brings peace, He is the one who institutes peace. There is no other place we can find peace. We can find reprieve briefly from the chaos and discord around us, but we can never find lasting peace outside of Jesus. Going back to Genesis 3 when we saw our need for peace, we also saw who would bring that peace when God tells the serpent in Genesis 3:15 that the seed of the woman would crush his head. We all know the Christmas story recorded in Luke 1 where Mary tells the angel she can’t have a baby because she is a virgin and the angel tells her she will. See, Jesus is the only one who can bring peace because He is the one who was prophesied would come to do so.
We are sinners, born at war with God. We can spend our entire lives looking for peace. Peace between us and our fellow men, peace between us and creation, and peace between us and God. The only way to find peace is by trusting in the Prince of Peace who was born that very first Christmas night.
This Christmas take time to thank God for offering us peace. For coming to this broken restless world and restoring it and offering rest and peace through His cross.
Christmas is about hope, it’s about peace. Praise God He offers both hope and peace to us through Jesus.