Here we are only 5 days out from Christmas. People are whistling Christmas tunes, malls are playing Christmas songs, parents are wrapping Christmas gifts, trees are sparkling with Christmas lights – there’s a good spirit about the place on planet earth. This is the happiest time of the year.
But not for everyone.
At least two families in Sydney are mourning the loss of a son and a mother from the recent café hostage siege. Parents in Pakistan are weeping over the loss of their children who were brutally gunned down in their school. In Nigeria Boko Haram have kidnapped another 185 school children and killed 35 more. Then if that’s not enough to dampen the Christmas cheer, the Russian Rubble has plunged, losing half its value and sending a population of over 143 million into another economic crises (as if they need another one).
That’s bad news for the Russian people, many of whom live under the poverty line. That’s bad news in the middle of winter, when temperatures plummet below freezing and widows are scavenging around their villages in search of fuel to run their fires. That’s bad news for the churches trying to reach orphans, during the busiest and neediest time of the year.
“Glory to God in the highest,” shouted the angels to the lowly shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock by night, “And on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
I know what you’re thinking. That’s a very nice sentiment by the angels. But it’s not reality. Not on this earth.
And that’s where you’re wrong. Christmas peace has come, but it won’t be found in the news headlines or broadcasted on TV. Christmas peace is offered, but not through diplomatic or political means. Christmas peace is available, not under the Christmas tree or from Santa’s sleigh but for those who come to know and trust the Prince of Peace.
“You shall call his name Jesus,” the angel Gabriel said to Joseph, “for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). That’s how you find peace, by believing and trusting in a Saviour, who has come to rescue us from the very thing that has brought about our ruin – SIN.
Sin is far more serious than how we imagine it to be. We often imagine sin to be a series of petty offences which requires some measure of correction, like receiving a detention for throwing paper darts in class, or a teen being grounded by a parent for staying out too late. It is far more serious than that. Sin, which is lawlessness, is siding with God’s ultimate enemy – the devil, the lawless one.
All human misery, all human destruction, all violence, all hostility, aggression and strife is a result of the devil’s work. All human grief, sorrow, misery, depression and suicide are a result of the devil’s work. Also every lie, every falsehood, every fabrication and distortion of the facts so as to manipulate things the way we want it is a result of the devil’s work.
The good news is that Satan’s work can be destroyed, by the Son of God. For that is why He appeared. That is why God sent Him. The Apostle John writes in 1 John 3:8,
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
Like a doctor who amputates a leg full of gangrene and cuts out a cancerous tumour, Christ saves by destroying. When he died on the cross he overcame sin’s penalty. When he rose from the dead he overcame sin’s power. And one day he will return again in glory, and overcome sin’s presence. Then he will reign over believers in a new heaven and earth of peace (Revelation 21).
G. Campbell Morgan writes,
“Do not forget the meaning of the Incarnation. It was the invasion of human history by One who snatched the sceptre from the usurper. It was the intrusion of forces into human history which dissolved the consistency of the works of the devil and caused them to break and fail. Incarnation was the coming of the Stronger than the strong man armed to destroy the works of the devil…”
Thank you Jesus for coming and being our Warrior. You really are the Prince of Peace.