Peace - Rev. Chris Shorow

I love getting Christmas cards this time of year. It is a time to catch up with old friends, many of whom I only hear from once a year in their cards. Unfortunately, I have let too many Christmases go by without getting a card out from my family. I guess periodic Facebook updates will have to do for now.

One loyal friend that writes me every year seems to have only bad news to share. Each year I reluctantly open his card, expecting the worst—and usually, he delivers! Surgeries, deaths, accidents, floods (even a lost wallet while on vacation in Europe!), are a part of every letter that is included in his card. Ironically, his Christmas cards are beautifully artistic pieces depicting peaceful manger scenes, while the letters included in them are full of his latest tragedies. It seems the poor guy never has any peace in his life.

But maybe that is what Christmas is about. Jesus himself was born into a chaotic world full of war and hatred. Mary and Joseph were refugees in a world where Herod was determined to kill this new King of Israel. And that is the very reason he was born—to give His peace to all of us looking for peace. The peace of Christ transcends our everyday circumstances and reminds us that God has given us the ultimate gift in this newborn babe.

So what does the peace of Christ mean for us? It means that my friend can celebrate a blessed Christmas despite all of the sorrows he faces throughout the rest of the year. It means that we can rejoice in the birth of a Savior that reaches beyond our pain and reminds us that God walks with us in every circumstance in our lives.
Maybe that would be a good way for all of us to send Christmas cards—enclosing a beautiful card that celebrates the birth, and then writing a letter detailing what really happened to us throughout the year. In this way, we would know that we have truly received the gift intended for us this year—the peace of Christ!

Matthew 2:7-12 - New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”

9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

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