“A great company of the heavenly host appeared … praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests’” (Luke 2:13–14).
The peace the angels proclaimed wasn’t a proclamation of world peace or a declaration of the end of strife. It wasn’t an announcement that we could now all get along with our neighbors and families. It’s far bigger and more important than any of that. Through Jesus, the barrier of sin has been removed. Now we have relationship with God!
Because Jesus, the Prince of Peace, brought us peace with God, one of the greatest responses we can have to that amazing news is to become peace proclaimers ourselves in all our Christmas traditions, preparations, and celebrations.
The truth is that most families experience relationship pressures during this season. Nearly every family gathering has at least one relative who requires extra grace. If you don’t know which relative that is, maybe you’re just exceptionally blessed, or maybe you need to look in the mirror. But it’s true that Advent and Christmas often bring more strife and conflict rather than less.
As the ones who’ve received peace with God through Jesus, we have a special opportunity to proclaim peace in our families just like the angels proclaimed peace to us. In Matthew 5:9, Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” This passage shows us that those of us who count themselves as children of God must join Him in the work of proclaiming peace and making peace with others.
Peacemaking isn’t the same thing as peacekeeping. Peacekeeping is what the UN tries to do -not always successfully. But when Jesus brought us peace with God, he didn’t create an uneasy truce; he brought us back into unity and harmony with God.
Peacekeeping tries to appease, patch together, and keep everyone satisfied or at least just quietly disgruntled. Peacemaking deals with healing the underlying issues.
Peacemaking is what God did for us by sending us Jesus Christ. Peacemaking goes beyond just avoiding and separating conflict. It brings restoration, relationship, and unity.
Jesus didn’t just tolerate us. He restored us. He didn’t just make a way to just endure being with us. He made a way to be near to us and develop a love relationship with us.
Despite all our talk about peace and grace as Christians, how many of us feel like we can just receive the love of God rather than having to work for it or prove we’ve earned it? The angels’ proclaimed, “A Savior has been born to you.” It’s a gift that we accept by putting our faith in the cross.
So, accept His gift this Christmas! Accept His love and peace!