Together, we rejoice in the gift of the one who came to bring “peace, love, salvation, justice, and so much more.” May we celebrate with joy the gift of the Christ-child, and may we share this gift with all the world during this season of Christmas and all year long.
“I just want peace in my house!” It sounded so simple, but it drove the kids and me crazy. We had grown to expect this classic Priscilla response every Christmas to our question, “What do you want for Christmas?” She never wanted anything for herself, besides peace in her house, of course.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2:14, NSRV) We could use a little peace in God’s house, and Lord knows we can use some good will toward all people. The good news is that on Christmas Day we celebrate the fact that, in the birth of Jesus, God gives the world the one gift that embodies peace, love, salvation, justice and so much more.
It is the one gift that comes with healing in its wings powerful enough to free us from the bondage of sin and death. It is the one gift with light enough to overcome all darkness, the true gift that redeems and makes whole that which is broken. Jesus is the one true, perfect gift of unity binding us together. “For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us.” (Ephesians 2:14, NRSV)
On this Christmas Day may you hear these words with hope and joy. It does not matter if you hear them as words for a hopeful future, or as a word meant to counter a fallen world, or inspiration in the dry times of life. “Peace on earth and good will toward all people” points us toward the day that we would have reason for great hope. Therefore, even in our current distress we dare sing, “Joy to The World.”
In the gift of this Son, born in the humblest of circumstances, in a little insignificant town, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient of days.” (Micah 5:2, NRSV)
In the gift of Jesus, God teaches us how to turn the other cheek, how to love even our enemies, and love and serve others. Jesus is the peace, love, and justice we desire. What do I want for Christmas? I like how the song “Grown-Up Christmas List” says it: “So here’s my lifelong wish, my grown-up Christmas list, not for myself but for a world in need. No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start, and time would heal all hearts, and everyone would have a friend, and right would always win, and love would never end.” (“Grown-Up Christmas List,” David W. Foster, Linda Foster) Indeed, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” (Luke 2:14, NRSV)