“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'” -Luke 2:13-15
The time of Advent is here and I have found myself thinking about peace. So I looked up Luke 2:13-15 above. It is a verse I have heard and read so many times and as I looked it up just now to get me started on God’s promise of peace, I noticed something ‘new’. It’s not new, it’s always been there, but it is so exciting all over again it feels like new. Have you ever had that happen to you? I hope it happens to you as you reread the Christmas story again this year.
But back to the ‘new’: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Wait… “peace to those on whom his favor rests…” That’s me… And it’s you! How do I know that? Because I know who God’s favor rests on ultimately and He is Jesus. And who do you and I have? We have Jesus. And Jesus was born, died, buried, and rose again to take our place, so that I could be raised up with him seated at the right hand of the Father (Eph. 2: 6-7), His rightful place, so that He could lavish on me His amazing grace… and peace!
Remember that in the old testament, when a person would present a sacrifice for their sins, the high priest would inspect the lamb for perfection not for perfection in the person, and then if the lamb was without defect, it would be approved and the person would be made right with God. Jesus was the perfect lamb of God. He is our atoning sacrifice God has provided us so that as we present ourselves to Him, He sees not our imperfections, but what Jesus has done perfectly for us. He sees not what I have done or haven’t done, but what Jesus did for me over 2,000 years ago. And because of that I have peace with God and so do you.
Nothing that I do can change what Jesus has done for me; that He has poured out God’s grace on me. Grace is defined as unmerited/unearned favor (that’s right, we didn’t earn it, but it’s there for us!) and there is ‘peace to those on whom is favor rests’. I’m not saying that either you nor I are God’s favorite (though when I was younger, I used to pretend I was ). The truth is we can rest in the fact that we have peace with God through the favored one! It’s a guarantee to anyone who believes in Jesus! That’s the Good news.
So with Christmas, the angels appeared to the shepherds to proclaim peace for us who believe. Jesus is born and nothing was going to stop Him from bringing hope, salvation, peace, grace, and life to us all.
2 Corinthians 6:1-3: “As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”
We live in this day! How do we live as though we are? One way is to walk in peace. Peace, after all, is part of the armor of God. It’s what we ready our feet with (Ephesians 6: 15). In other words, it’s what we are supposed to walk in. But we never walk alone, we have the Spirit of God in us. Peace is a fruit of the Spirit. If you have the Spirit in you, you have peace. So when you start to lose your peace (or patience), get hung up on what gifts to buy, the money you’re spending, things going wrong with family or friends, take a step back and say ‘Jesus, in you, I have peace.’ Take a deep breath and remember Jesus. He came to give you that peace and nothing can take it away from you!
Speak that truth in your life. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and in that we can hold on to that peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Trust him and use that peace that surpasses understanding to guide you this Advent season (Phil 4:7).
I am finding peace is a theme for me this year. Maybe you can have a theme too? Do you feel God calling you to focus on a particular aspect of Christmas this year? Share with us!
Julie Ulrich has been a camper, volunteer staff member and speaker at camp.