The calendar is full and getting fuller; the bank account is empty and getting emptier. The to-do list lengthens each day, and the radio blares out commercials and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and the latest political scandal. The children fight and yell, run around full of manic energy, flop around bored. It is no new thing, this world spinning wildly round, us trying to catch it. It is true all year long– that we are living in a universe of chaos and cruelty. But it seems to come more clear at Christmas time.
Oh, how we want those still nights and that peace on earth. How we want to kneel before a sweet sleeping baby, to hear the angels sing. Silent night– yes, please.
The manger we come to so often seems empty and fails to bring us the lasting peace we desire. If– and that’s a pretty big if— we are able to quiet our hearts and find a moment of calm away from the wild crazy of this life, if we come to the manger with expectation, the truth is we still often carry away hearts full of fear and worry, dread and anxiety and panic.
Maybe we are looking for peace in the wrong place.
The story of Christmas is a beautiful one, but it is really only the beginning of the story. And if we go to the manger looking for peace, our hearts will be disappointed again and again. For the Prince of Peace is not in the manger.
It is not in the hay-filled wood of the manger that we find our peace, my friends, but in the blood-stained wood of the Cross. The hope born in Bethlehem came to save us– not from all our problems, but from our sins. He came to open the way that was closed between our hearts and God’s. He came to be our peace– to reconcile us to God Himself.
Until we accept that Jesus came to save us– until we trust in His work on the cross, that it was enough to make us holy and right with the Father– we will never know peace. And until we who believe rest in the reality of our peace, our hearts will wrestle with anxiety and darkness. We are invited to lay down our cares, to give thanks and to think on what is true, and bring our requests to the throne of grace. We are promised peace that passes understanding.
Celebrate the manger, the child, the glory of that night when angels sang and promised peace on earth.
And then fix your eyes on the cross, where that peace was purchased with the life of the Prince of Peace.
Oh come, let us adore Him!
Glory to God in the Highest.