Photo by Alasdair Elmes on Unsplash
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
INI + AMEN.
Where do you try find some peace? We can find peace in all sorts of places. Some places are good. Some are bad. Outdoors. In a good book. At home with family. Out with friends. A quiet moment alone. The bottom of a bottle. The dark recesses of the internet. Brooding over our past and pain.
Where do you try to find some peace? The holidays maybe help with that. Maybe they don’t. They’re supposed to. Happy times. Great gifts. Special moments and memories. And maybe there’s some of that, but it could also be sad memories, just fancy wrapping paper over a bag of coal or a box of nothing.
Wherever we try to find peace runs out. There obviously isn’t enough peace to go around: often our lives are proof of that, and the 24-hour news cycle shows it’s not just us, it’s all over the world, too. Nations, politicians, families at odds, all in time for the holidays. There’s always something you can’t bring up, isn’t there? There’s always some hidden pain or shame, covered up by you, or at least by those around you.
And besides, we’re good at covering up what pains us the most. Our doubts. Our worries. Our fears. Our shame. Our sin. All our searching for peace is just a bandaid when major surgery is needed. In fact, all those things we’re trying to find peace from are just symptoms. So is the fact that we’re always in search of something that will give us some measure of peace, some little peace of mind, a little holiday cheer, even if that peace is being able to forget at least for a little while…
The truth is you don’t find peace. I mean, worldly speaking you can. The world is full of people who find peace in all sorts of things, in all sorts of pleasures, in all sorts ways. Worldly peace is just temporary. Temporary peace and quiet for the body and mind. Worldly peace is only accomplished through force. Personal force of will. National force of military might. But one man’s peace is another man’s oppression. And what once gave peace, no longer does. Or maybe you just need more and more and more for peace, for calm, for rest, for comfort. The fact that we’re always working so hard at finding it is proof positive that we can’t and don’t find peace.
You don’t find peace. No one does. Not true peace. The truth is the Christmas Season’s Good News isn’t “peace on earth” that we have to make happen. The truth is Peace finds you because Peace is a Person. Peace is born in Bethlehem. JESUS IS YOUR PEACE. That’s the promise He made through His prophet Micah. “He shall be there peace.”
JESUS IS YOUR PEACE. That’s why the Angels sing what they sing, and why we join in singing with them every Lord’s Day, “Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” There’s peace on earth because Jesus is born and on earth. God’s goodwill, His pleasure, mercy, love, and forgiveness is toward men because His Son is born a man of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus is Peace on earth, “in Bethlehem Ephrathah.” He is “goodwill toward men,” toward the Levitical Shepherds, keeping watch over the sacrificial lambs. But not just Bethlehem, not just shepherds, “This is good news of great joy the shall be for all the people. Because today a Savior was born for you in Bethlehem. He is Christ, the LORD.” Savior. Lamb. Peace. Goodwill. Manger. Cross. Empty tomb. For you. JESUS IS YOUR PEACE.
This isn’t some nice idea, like: He comes to give you peace. He gives peace because He is Peace. He makes Peace with God because He is Peace by swapping out His manger for a cross. He’s Mary’s little Lamb, who was born “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
He is your Peace because He is yours and you are His. He gifts Himself to you, and He gifts you to His Father. Not just an idea, He unites Himself you and you to Him. You are baptized into Him. You are one with Peace, one with the Son, now you are an heir, having the hope of eternal life. He is Peace in the darkness of a sheep stall. He’s Peace in your life because He doesn’t leave you or forsake you.
JESUS IS YOUR PEACE because He delivers Himself, and His body and blood to you. He takes up flesh and blood so that you might partake of those same things, so that He would forgive you all your sins, and that He might dwell with you and within you and you in Him, and He will raise you up on the Last Day. You are united with Peace, with Jesus, not an idea. Real. True. As true as you eat and drink His body and blood. He is yours, and you are His. Grafted together, one Body, one Blood with Him.
Jesus is God Himself, the Son of God, “God with us.” He is one of us. You are one with Him, too. Clothed with Him in Baptism. Intimately united with Him through His own body and blood. He is your Peace. He has to be. No matter what you face in this dark world, you have Peace because you have Jesus. Actually, Jesus has you. He came for you—“Savior born for you,” as the angel said. JESUS IS YOUR PEACE, you can’t get away from Him. He’s with you. You’re with Him. One with Him. All the way to “God on high.” When Jesus has you, then you have Peace, you have Jesus.
Christmas may come once a year, and the world may peddle it’s empty ideas of peace, unity, goodwill, and love. But you don’t have to find peace. Peace has you. Not just this time of the year, but every day of the year! JESUS Himself IS YOUR PEACE. A Peace that was born, a Peace that was crucified and raised, a Peace that finds you, eternally unites Himself with you in Baptism, a Peace that bodies and bloods Himself to you, not just at Bethlehem, but all the more when you and drink of His body and blood that were given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. He’s with you, and you’re with Him. United. One. Whole. Like one thing. Peace. Now and forever.
INI + AMEN.