“I can’t find anything organically wrong with you,” the doctor said. “You probably have some business or social problem that you should talk over with a good counselor. As you know, many illnesses come from worry. A case very similar to yours came to me only a few weeks ago. The man had a $5,000 note due and couldn’t pay it. Because of his money problem, he had worried himself into a state of nervous exhaustion.”
“And did you cure him?” asked the patient.
“Yes,” said the doctor. “I told him to just stop worrying, that life was too short to make himself sick over a scrap of paper. Now he’s back to normal. He stopped worrying, entirely.”
“I know,” the patient said sadly. “I’m the one he owes the $5,000 to.”
Albert Camus has called ours “an age of overt anxiety.” Worry has been termed the “official emotion of our generation,” “the basis of all neuroses,” and “the most pervasive psychological problem of our time.” Mark Twain once said “From his cradle to his grave a man never does a single thing which has any first and foremost object save one — to secure peace of mind for himself.”
It is in such a world that Christians this time of year talk and sing and dream and preach about “Peace on Earth.” In an age of anxiety, how is it that we can come today and celebrate? Why, it all has to do with a child being born in a stable on a still and silent night. Angels proclaimed Peace on Earth because the Prince of Peace had come. Long ago the prophet Micah prophesied of His coming, declaring that this child of Bethlehem would be our peace.
Maybe the holidays for you have been anything but peaceful. If so, you need to step out of the shopping malls, out of the office parties, out of the overtime to pay for it all, and gather once again around the cradle of the child who brings peace.
There are several aspects of the peace which this little baby brings.
I. This Child of Christmas Brings Peace with God (Ephesians 2:11-14)
This is the one true message of the holidays which is the basis for everything we do and say. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, first and foremost, because He has brought us peace with God.
A man close to death was in the hospital. His minister came to see him and asked: “Have you made your peace with God?”
“I didn’t know we had ever quarreled,” said the man.
Many people in today’s world feel exactly this way. At the heart of this idea of Jesus bringing us peace with God is the concept that without Christ we are not at peace with God at all. In fact, without this child of peace, we are at war with God. This is exactly what the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 2:12-14:
Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now, in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He, Himself, is our peace!
In this context the Scriptures give one of its most solemn yet definite teachings. The Bible declares plainly that without Christ we are without God’s promises; that without Christ we are without hope; that without Christ we are without God; that without Christ we are lost — lost forever.
At this point, many today balk at the teachings of the Church. “Do you mean to say,” they ask, “that all those outside the church have no hope whatsoever? What about all the sincere folks who never come to Christ? What of the billions of people in the worlds of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism? What of those who have never heard? What of my neighbors and friends who are good-hearted people, but who have never given their hearts to Christ? Are you saying that they are lost? Well,” they add, “if that’s true, then the message of Christmas has made you Christians the most narrow-minded, bigoted people on the face of the earth.”
How are we to respond to such claims? I would respond by saying that, far from being narrow-minded and bigoted, Christians are the most loving people in the world.
Suppose you are a doctor and one day an individual comes to you and describes his symptoms. After testing his blood, you realize that this fellow has acute diabetes, for which you prescribe insulin injections. “Insulin!” he cries. “I don’t want to take insulin.” You assure him that he must take insulin.
The diabetic responds, “But I don’t want to take insulin. Can’t I take some other drug? How about penicillin? How about a double dose of aspirin? Won’t those do?” Again you reaffirm your opinion that without the insulin he will die.
Then the patient says, “Why, doctor, I do believe you are the most narrow-minded, closed-minded, bigoted physician I have ever met.” But is the doctor bigoted? Or is he loving in telling the man the truth, the only truth which will give him life?
Christians are not narrow or bigoted. Christians are loving because we declare truth to the world. In our sin, we are at war with God, without hope, without God in the world. But Jesus is our solution. The child of Christmas brings peace with God. There is no peace that can be purchased on the bargain-counter. Only through Christ’s victory on the cross where God justly punishes sin and mercifully pardons the sinner, only on the cross do we find that which brings peace: “He is our peace!” This isn’t narrow or bigoted. It is the truth! This is the season of peace because this child of Christmas brings us peace with God.
II. This Child of Christmas also Brings Us Peace with Others (Ephesians 2:14-19)
For many years, a silver star hung over the birthplace of Jesus in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Eastern Orthodox churchmen wanted to replace the star with one of their own. Roman Catholic churchmen rejected the idea. The former was backed by Russia and the latter was backed by France. When Turkey (which held jurisdiction over Palestine) sided with the French, Russia declared war on Turkey. Great Britain, France and Italy rallied to the side of Turkey. For three long years, 1853-1856, the Crimean War raged. Two years after the war, the silver star was permanently removed from the site.
It has been estimated that only 8% of recorded history has been peace-time. Of the last 3,000 years, only 300 years have been without war, and over 8,000 treaties have been broken. In our own nation, few years have been peaceful since World War II, in which was inflicted over 100,000 enemy casualties.
Every day we read the headlines and wonder, “Where is the peace promised by this child of Christmas?” The Bible teaches that the time of ultimate peace is coming in the future when Christ will return to earth. But His peace is a present reality in His Church. Hear what the apostle Paul continues to teach in Ephesians 2:14-19:
For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two (that’s Jew and non-Jew) one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in His flesh the Law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death the hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.
If there is any place on this planet where men and women can live in harmony and peace with one another, it must be in the Church. This must be our goal. This must be the reality we live out before the Lord every day. How will the world believe that Jesus brings us peace with God if we cannot live at peace with one another?
Oh, we put on a pretty good show most of the time. A young Chinese man was hired to be the housekeeper of a well-to-do family with two teenage sons. The boys made it their mission to make things miserable for this poor fellow. One day they nailed his shoes to the floor, but he just smiled and pulled out the nails. Another time they put a bucket of water over the door, but the housekeeper just smiled and dried himself off when a bucketful of water fell on him. He continued to show those teenagers the utmost respect. In fact, his courtesy made the boys feel so guilty that they approached him one day and assured him they would reform.
“No more shoes nailed to floor?” he asked. “No,” the boys assured him.
“No more water over door?” he questioned. “No,” they replied.
“Ah, very good,” he said. “Then no more spit in soup.”
Isn’t that the way it is sometimes? We bicker and backbite, put up a good front, and then we “spit in the soup” — that is, we sour our relationships with people whom Christ holds dear. The message of Christmas is “Peace on Earth!” It is a message to God’s people. Those who have received peace with God must live at peace with one another. If we fail in this, we deny the purpose of Christmas.
III. This Child of Christmas Brings Us Peace with Ourselves (Ephesians 1:14)
He is our peace! When Christ, through His sacrifice, makes us at peace with God and with others in His Church — then and only then can we be at peace with ourselves. The Bible promises that when we set our minds and actions upon the things of God, then and only then will the “peace of God which surpasses all comprehension guard our hearts and our minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
Some say, “Good theology, preacher, but how can I be at peace when all of life is crashing down ground me?”
Billy Graham tells the story of a little bird. The sea was beating against the rocks in huge dashing waves, the lightning was flashing, the thunder was rolling, the wind was blowing; but the little bird was asleep in the crevice of the rock, its head serenely under its wing — it was sound asleep. That is peace — to be able to sleep in the storm!
In Christ, we are at peace in the midst of the confusions, bewilderments, and perplexities of this life. The storm rages, but our hearts are at rest. When Christ comes in, He stands against the winds and the storms and cries out: “Peace, be still!” If Christ is here in our hearts, then we can be at peace. We find peace when we find Him. He is our peace!
Drop Thy still dews of quietness, Till all our strivings cease; Take from our souls the strain and stress, And let our ordered lives confess, The beauty of Thy peace.
Augustine said, “Thou hast touched me and I have been translated into Thy peace.”
The key to being at peace is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not a “Sunday-go- to-meetin’ religion,” but a personal relationship. How long have you been holding out on God? The message of Christmas isn’t narrow and bigoted. It is the truth. The only hope we have in this world is to allow Jesus to restore our lost relationship with God.
Dwight L. Moody once said, “A great many people are trying to make peace, but that has already been done. God has not left it for us to do; all we have to do is to enter into it.” Have you entered into personal relationship and peace with Jesus Christ? Have you allowed Him to change your heart? This is the only hope of the world which longs for peace, the only hope for our communities, the only hope for our lives — to allow Christ to remake our hearts.
An old proverb says: “If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. And when there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world.”
Ephesians 2:13-14 reminds us: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near, through the blood of Christ — for He Himself is our peace.”

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