Finding Peace at Christmas By Roger Campbell

Dec 13th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Religion

The Middle East, where Christ was born, has been a troubled region for thousands of years.  Jerusalem means “city of peace” or “foundation of peace,” but the history of that historic city has been a continuing story of war and destruction.

Biblical prophecies said peace would finally come and be brought by a child who would be born of a virgin: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14), adding: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called “Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

This child who would bring peace must be born in Bethlehem, not far from Jerusalem (Micah 5:2), so the Roman Empire would be brought into the miracle by enacting a tax and census that required people to return to their hometowns to pay their taxes.  This brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem and made possible the fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy.

There in Bethlehem’s stable, Mary gave birth to her promised son.  Angels then gave his first birth announcement to shepherds who were on night watch to protect their sheep and a chorus of angels lifted their voices in praise to God with these now familiar words: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

On that holy night, the promise of the coming Prince of Peace was fulfilled.  Why then do war, crime and violence continue?

Good question.

One that I once pondered while writing a poem:

“The angels came announcing peace

The night of Jesus’ lowly birth;

Yet trouble here still does not cease,

And wars and wrongs remain on earth.

What’s the answer to this poetic predicament?

The Bible speaks of peace in three dimensions: peace with God, the peace of God and world peace.  But how do these three partitions of peace affect you and me?

World peace is yet to come, finally ending wars and international tensions. At that time, the prophecies about the coming Prince of Peace will be completely fulfilled.

Peace with God is personal, having to do with forgiveness of sins; being right with God through faith in the stable born Savior, who is the reason for this season.

Personal peace arrives when we stop trembling and start trusting God completely.  In his timeless carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” Henry W. Longfellow expresses this comforting truth:

“Then pealed the bells both loud and deep:

‘God is not dead: nor doth He sleep;

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.’”

Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.

He can be reached at rcministry@ameritech.net