Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests. (Luke 2:13-14 NIV)
Christmas is over. The packages are all opened up, tiny shreds of wrapping paper keep appearing everywhere, and the tree in my living room is looking a little sad. The lights never seem to twinkle the same after the big day, do they? There’s something about expectation that casts a lens – a filter, if you will – over the world. Everything looks different in the light of expectation.
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. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)
And once the long-expected day has past, things should feel different, right? I mean…we looked forward to it for so long. We made so many preparations. We made so many plans and had so many ideas in our heads of how the day would be. It shone on the horizon like a beacon of hope – something beautiful to break up the monotony of life.
Something to make things feel…different.
And then it comes…and goes…and nothing has really changed. The peace we were promised…nowhere to be found. We may feel even more desperate than before. The let down can be hard.
What’s that about?
His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. (Isaiah 9:6 MSG)
But a new concept of peace can come into play when we stop looking for things to happen the way we expect and plan. Peace comes as wholeness. Peace comes as completion. Peace comes as a way back to the way things are supposed to be.
Peace. It comes and stops the striving and searching and working to fill something that was never intended to sit empty in the first place.
I think it comes down to this: a broken relationship with God – conflict and a lack of relational peace – shatters us. Pieces of who we were created to be scatter and the life we were created to live disappears from sight. We are emptied and desperately longing to be filled again…to be whole again.
And then Jesus comes…not just to pick up the pieces, but to fill us up again. To stop the futile attempts of our feeble hands to make anything of the scattered pieces. To stop the desperate searching for that one thing that will fill the hole. To stop the frantic pursuit for something we can’t quite identify.
Peace is that something we’ve been looking for. It’s what we’ve been missing. And it’s here.
Peace – not just that fills the empty places, but that keeps us afloat when life breaks again. Peace, in the person of Jesus.
There and only there. Him and only him.