TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Luke 2:8-14; Isiah 9:6-7; Ephesians 2:14-16
BOTTOM LINE: PEACE isn’t something we go get or find. PEACE arrived when Jesus arrived, and it’s available to us!
Let me begin by asking our minds to imagine images of CHRISTmas … and images of War.
Truth is, images of CHRISTmas & images of War don’t easily fit together in our minds. The Cold-Cruelty of War seems about as far as we can get from the Warm, Generosity that overflows in the Holiday season.
The Pain & Suffering of battle contradict the JOY and Celebration of CHRISTmas. But, for those who fought in WWI, CHRISTmas arrived right in the midst of an intense, global battle. Life in the trenches was Brutal & Gruesome. New technologies such as Tanks & Mustard Gas had advanced military capabilities to kill even more efficiently and painfully than ever before.
And yet, amidst This Backdrop, many individuals still chose PEACE. Early in the war, during December 1914, many German & British soldiers took PEACE into their own hands. On CHRISTmas Eve, they sang and played carols to each other across the destroyed no-man’s land, actually discovering they knew the same songs … even if the lyrics were in different languages.
Early on CHRISTmas day, German soldiers walked across the scarred landscape, unarmed, shouting Merry CHRISTmas to their enemies. Allied soldiers, at first a little skeptical at first, crawled out from their trenches and joined them shaking hands, exchanging gifts of cigarettes & plum pudding. They sang CHRISTmas carols together.
Historical records even indicate there was a documented game of Soccerduring this un-official cease-fire.
The CHRISTmas Truce was never repeated. Unfortunately, the officers made sure of it by threatening punishments. But on that special day, enemies placed their shared humanity before their own grievances, and experienced the CHRISTmas spirit of PEACE in a powerful way!
Can You Imagine? What a sight that must have been to see the enemy soldiers sharing CHRISTmas PEACE together.
In a similar way, God’s PEACE can fill us and rule within us. Even when we’re surrounded by Death & Evil, God’s Presence & PEACE can pierce even those dark & painful surroundings and circumstances in life [including a War or an Emotional Valley we find ourselves in this moment].
The Shepherds were considered the Lower Class of society in the days of the birth of Jesus, and yet it was to THEM [and not the Religious Leaders] that the Angels appeared to share the news of the Birth of the Messiah.
Imagine being out in the field when they all show up in the sky … lights glowing in ways never thought possible. It’s no wonder they needed PEACE isn’t it? They had to have been scared to death!
Luke 2:8-14 tells this story, but the Angels said, do not be afraid!
The fact that the Angels showed up to them is a powerful portrait and reminder that God’s Favor and God’s PEACE rests among ALL who choose to experience Him! HE came that CHRISTmas … to be with Us! To give us a way to REST and to find the PEACE that passes all understanding, even amidst some of the craziness and chaos we live thru each day!
- It’s through God’s PEACE that we become WHOLE! – we often try on our own power, and eventually, it will always let us down. But the arrival of Jesus brought Shalom, reflecting the Peace and Wholeness that could ONLY come thru Christ.
- God’s PEACE arrived in the form of a PERSON! – we don’t have to go find it! We can’t go get more! We’ve got 100% of the PEACE of God, because Jesus came! Jesus is called The Prince of PEACE.
The PEACE of Jesus did some incredible things …
- It brought WHOLENESS.
- It came as a PERSON … not just some mystic thing of sorts. He came in Flesh.