During the season of joy often peace is painfully absent. There is much to do to prepare, like buying a tree, gifts, preparing the house, and hanging lights. You might face the reality of spending an entire day trying to celebrate with extended family while the relationships are fractured and painful. Maybe you’re bearing some guilt and disappointment from the missed opportunities, failures, and unmet expectations of the last year. As you look at January, you feel overwhelmed and uncertain. Instead of peace, you find yourself in knots.
Think about the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. They occupied the lowest place on the social pecking order. Their office was out in the fields, far from the action of Bethlehem. They worked long hours, into the night, away from family and friends, trying to make ends meet. I think it is safe to say, spiritually they felt like God was a million miles away. Their future was not bright with expectancy and hope. But then…
Luke 2:9, “…an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.”
The glory of the Lord, the presence of God, enveloped the lonely ruffians toiling in the night. Of all people, they were the first to hear the most important news in the world. The Savior, the King of Kings, Christ the Lord, was born in Bethlehem and they were invited to see him. And then…
Luke 2:13-14, “…suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”
Because of Jesus peace is now available to everyday people living in a broken world. Let’s remember, because of Jesus our sins are forgiven, and we have access to the presence of God. The glory of the Lord that shone around the shepherds can shine in our hearts. In his presence, there is perfect peace, even when it seems life is pulling us apart.
This holiday season, take some time to get quiet in God’s presence. Like the shepherds, worship Jesus for all he has done. And if, while Ben Crosby sings, “White Christmas” you feel yourself becoming irritated, anxious, or even offended, begin to pray quietly in your heart. Ask God to bless the people in your life. Quietly whisper a prayer for God to bless your spouse, kids, and family. Watch what happens. That first Christmas, the glory of the Lord showed up in a forgotten field. And God’s presence can show up big time in your living room and in your heart.
Isaiah 26:23 – You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.