Peace.

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The English Standard Version of Luke 2:14 states it as with whom he [God] is pleased; the New International Version as to those on whom his favor rests.

During this time of year, on many cards and Christmas programs throughout he land, many use the New King James Version which puts it simply as goodwill toward men.  It’s not my favorite version because it omits such as important aspect of God’s peace–a peace reserved for those who want to be reconciled to Him.

Perhaps this would be better suited for a “New Year’s” post and, yet, it seems right to write this out today.  This year was quite a year.  A hard year.  The death of my cousin in a horrific manner in January.  Multiple hospitalizations for my mother.  And a number of things that went on that I cannot elaborate on online.

I’ve talked about this often with people in times of trials–I do not know how people go through these struggles without God.  How they do live without God.  I’m only a decade into my walk with the Lord, and I simply cannot remember how I ever did it without Him.  I think of these situations I went through this past year and how ten years ago, I don’t know that I would have survived them, at least not without going absolutely insane first.  When Philippians 4:7 speaks about a “peace that surpasses all understanding,”  I know that I have that peace.  I know that many others possibly cannot.

So it’s easy to throw out a wish for peace for all during this holiday season when good-naturedness comes more readily and the warm fuzzies have us being a little more kind and loving toward all.

But with the many celebrations that take place on December 25, there’s a sadness that hangs in the air of how many of those are celebrating the tradition; the gifts and not the giver.

And so I do wish for peace–not in the Miss America cliche answer type way–in the,

God sent His one and only Son to be born in a manger; to live a perfect life; to die on a cross and rise again.  All so that my–and your–sins could be forgiven.

How Jesus humbled himself on my behalf to do this, humbles me.

As I reflected on the greatest gift to ever come to earth this Christmas morning, I tried hard to find the words I wanted to share.  But sometimes others have already said it and you can do not better.  As someone I follow on Instagram wrote:

I’ve been listening to the classic carols over the last few weeks, tearing constantly at the mental reciting of this one line of one very well-known Christmas carol: “The hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight.” I feel like that sentence should follow a drum roll. Or perhaps the next 33 years of Christ’s life would be the drum roll. Either way, we rejoice for all that Christmas means for sin-soaked humanity. The hopes and fears of all the years–B.C. and A.D.–were met at the birth of the Christ. Astounded at this love & grace for sinners…of which I am the worst.

1 Timothy 1:14 Our Lord poured out more and more of his grace on me. Along with it came faith and love from Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a saying that you can trust. It should be accepted completely. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst of all.

It’s not fun to talk about sin on this joyous day.  But it is the only way I can feel joyous–to know what I’ve been rescued and redeemed from because of a baby being born in a manger.  And although it’s true that we don’t even know what date Jesus was actually born, this is the date chosen to represent the moment–the moment a baby born would one day become the man who would bring peace between God and man.

One of my favorite Christmas CDs is Chris Tomlin’s Glory in the Highest.  And on that CD, the song that can bring me to tears every single time is Winter Snow.

Could’ve come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could’ve come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

{Winter Snow, sung by Audrey Assad}

A baby was not what the world expected.  But it was everything that it needed.

Merry Christmas, friends.  I pray you know the peace of God as one on whom His favor rests.

heappeared

My soul feels it’s worth.  And it’s worth is in Him alone.

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