It is wonderful to know that we don’t have to be perfect before God. But Christmas brings with it hectic schedules, tired loved ones, crowded malls, harried shoppers, and seasonal tasks that have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus’ birth. A million details, people, events, and even crises pull us in as many different directions.
In all the hustle and bustle, where do you find silence and stillness? Where is your place of rest and tranquility in the midst of all the commotion?
Thankfully, the promise of a much-needed blessing appears throughout the Christmas story. Used more than four hundred times in Scripture, it is a word woven throughout the prophecies of Jesus’ coming as a special gift to us from God.
That wonderful word is peace.
In speaking about the Savior, the prophet Isaiah reported,
A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called… Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6
Likewise, we read that, on the night Jesus was born,
there appeared… a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased’. — Luke 2:13–14
Surely this promise of peace is a welcome one — especially at Christmas when there is so much that can steal our inner tranquility. As soon as we are able to settle down, get some rest, and quiet our spirit, it seems as if some other request, demand, burden, or emergency rushes in. As quick as lightning, we lose the calm we worked so hard to find.
His name will be called Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6
If you find Christmas a time of agitation and anxiety, you are certainly not alone. We tend to think that if we had enough money or the right connections, the holidays — all of life, in fact — would be much easier. Especially during the Christmas season, though, many look to wealth, and possessions as the pathway to inner peace. They think that if they could just have that latest gadget, they would be happy. If they could only buy their loved ones those special gifts, they could maintain harmony in their household. Sadly, plans like these never work. Worldly goods can never fill our emptiness, give us worth, or restore broken relationships.
This is the inherent problem with the world’s definition of peace: it is based on our limited human resources and therefore offers only temporary results. A momentary solution cannot reach down to the root of the issues causing our stress and anxiety, much less provide lasting relief.
As Christmas approaches, what can you do to maintain genuine tranquility despite the season’s activities and pressures? What can you do to preserve harmony within yourself, with others, and, most importantly, with your heavenly Father?
Jesus shows us the way. He taught that we could have His profound inner peace in even the most chaotic situations. He told the disciples,
Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. — John 14:27
Christ’s tranquility is not based on circumstances; rather, it is a supernatural gift that we are blessed with when we walk with Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
The good news is that Christ has made this kind of profound, abiding tranquility available to all of us who believe in Him. So how can you take hold of all He offers? How can you receive the “peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7)?
First, understand that the peace of God originates in our reconciliation with Him. Our entering into a relationship with Him marks the beginning of our ability to experience His true, heart-changing, supernatural tranquility.
The Greek word for peace is eirene, and it means “to bind together.” When you trust Jesus as your Savior, He binds you to Himself for all eternity. You never need to worry about losing your salvation because Jesus made you right with the Father through His death on the cross — and no one can ever take that away from you. No matter what occurs here on earth, you can be absolutely confident of your right relationship with God and assured that you have a home in heaven.
But, second, we must also realize that harmony with the Father leads to the calmness of soul that can only come from Him. In other words, our choice to obey God enables us to experience the supernatural peace that He gives.
Of course, you may be wondering why you must submit to the Lord’s plans in order to experience tranquility. You may feel you know what is best for your own life, so why listen to Him?
Remember, God understands you better than you comprehend yourself. He sees your potential and all that is possible through you. So when you head in a direction that is contrary to what you were created for or that could conceivably hurt you, His Holy Spirit will always prod you to return to His path because He only wants the very best for you.
But when you obediently walk in God’s will, His wisdom, power, and love protect you and preserve your peace. What happens to you is like what happens during a raging ocean storm. The driving winds and rain may stir up tumultuous waves that no ship could survive. But if you descend beneath the surface several hundred feet, you find that the water is quiet, still, and calm. You wouldn’t even know a tempest was thundering on the surface.
When people learn to walk in a strong relationship with Jesus, the storms that assail their lives don’t upset the calm assurance within them. Deep within, they remain at peace, dwelling in the Almighty’s holy presence, grateful for His protection, and trusting in His plan. Knowing that God is sovereign, they are at peace because they understand that nothing touches their lives outside of His authority, wisdom, and love.
Third, we must also embrace the fact that Christ takes full responsibility for our needs when we obey Him. Earthly peace is often based on worldly resources that can — and ultimately will — fail. So when we face situations beyond our abilities, talents, skills, and wealth, no wonder we feel overwhelmed, anxious, and discouraged.
God understands you better than you comprehend yourself. But Jesus is called the Prince of Peace for an important reason. The Hebrew word for prince is sar, which means “commander, ruler, leader, or captain” — the one who overcomes all obstacles in order to accomplish his purpose. In other words, whatever your circumstances may be, God is always completely able and willing to help you. As a believer, you can calmly and joyfully trust Him, because you know that the One who is best able to give you victory in every situation will never leave you or forsake you.
Finally, understand that you will experience the Father’s peace when you make your relationship with Him your top priority and nurture it every day. Only the Lord is able to calm your worries and drive out your fears. So whenever concerns creep up this Christmas, consider it Jesus’ call to spend time with Him.
Why? Because when you spend time with the Lord, you realize that He’s got everything under control and that He will work everything out for your good. And when you walk in the center of His will and learn to see your circumstances from His perspective, you can enjoy that deep, wonderful, supernatural tranquility that I just described.
In addition to experiencing the peace that comes only through the Father, you’ll also be a calming presence to those around you. You’ll be able to handle the conflicts that arise with greater grace, wisdom, and composure.
So this Christmas, instead of fretting about presents you must purchase, people you must please, and parties you must plan, think of the One you need most: focus on the Prince of Peace.
In faith, surrender yourself to His loving care. Rest in His ability to help you. Let the peace of the Lord Jesus give you unshakable calm this Christmas season, and you will experience the rest, gladness, and hope He created you to enjoy.
Promises of God’s Peace
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. — John 16:33
In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. — Psalm 4:8
The Lord will give strength to His people; The Lord will bless His people with peace. — Psalm 29:11
Excerpted with permission from Christmas: A Gift for Every Heart by Charles Stanley, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Today, let’s look away from chaotic situations and focus on the Prince of Peace! What helps you remember to keep your eyes on Him? Come join the conversation on our blog. We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily