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Jesus: Our Everlasting


Peace: Peace is in the Presence and Promise of Jesus

Saturday, December 16 | by Dr. Shelly Melia

Today's Reading

Luke 2:8-20

During the past twenty years, my family has enjoyed spending time at the lake house in Oklahoma, which my mom and dad bought as they neared retirement. The memories of countless family gatherings run as deep as the lake itself. For me, the dock serves as a reminder of my most vivid memories. Walking down the stone-paved pathway, across the creaky walkway, and through the spider webs just before sunrise transports me from the familiar and compels me to engage and be fully present with the beautiful surroundings. A bench at the end of the dock became my favorite spot to wait for the sunrise and take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the lake at dawn. This became my personal place of peace and tranquility.

This snapshot of peace comes from an earthly perspective, a temporary peace centered around a particular time and setting. While this temporary peace on earth serves the purpose of drawing me to my Creator, it is not the type of peace described in Luke 2:8-20. A reading of the passage recounts the angel's announcement of the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, followed by the company of angels praising God.

This passage resonates deeply with me because of the ordinary circumstances and the ordinary people God used to accomplish His divine plan. Today, however, I find myself more focused on a yearning for the kind of peace the angels announced as they praised God, saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

What kind of peace is this passage talking about? Can we really expect to experience peace on earth today? These are questions that have come to mind as I have reflected on this passage for the past few weeks. I am sure I do not have any profound or original answers to these questions, but I do find myself focusing my answers on the presence of Jesus as the key to both eternal and earthly peace.

Current world events surround us with conflict, wars, hatred, violence, persecution, confusion, and injustice. We are rightly angered and heartbroken by the horrors that we see unfolding inside and outside the United States. Like me, you may be questioning if it is even possible to believe there could be peace on earth this Christmas.

Today’s passage reminds us that peace is not centered on circumstances or settings. Peace is centered around the person of Jesus Christ.

Yet, today's passage reminds us that peace is not centered on circumstances or settings. Peace is centered around the person of Jesus Christ. It is no accident the angels' announcement of the birth of Jesus included the proclamation that His birth would bring peace on earth. In addition, the Old Testament reveals Jesus as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). The birth of Jesus set the stage for eternal peace in the hearts of those who follow Him. Our sin made us enemies of God, but Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled (at peace with God) by becoming sons and daughters of God. The peace described by the angels has little to do with the absence of wars, struggle, hatred, or confusion in this fallen age. Rather, peace is found in Him, who is now present in our lives because of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Our relationship with Jesus also brings the promise of, one day, an eternal home free from the brokenness of sin.

As we end this week's emphasis on peace, may we be reminded that the peace in Luke's gospel for us today is about the presence of Christ, not the absence of conflict or injustice. While we may have a weathered bench on which to watch the sunrise or a well-worn trail here on earth that brings us a sense of peace and tranquility, nothing replaces the peace that passes all understanding when we take the time to intentionally engage the presence of the Prince of Peace in our lives.

Dr. Shelly Melia serves as the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Ministry and the Director for the Master of Arts in Children's Ministry and Master of Arts in Family Ministry programs at Dallas Baptist University.

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