Peace, Joy, and Love at Christmas! Print

candlePeace, Joy, & Love, are words we read often in this Advent Season--in cards received, in carols sung and in the promises of Scripture. We who know Christ experience the wonder of those words at work in us because of Him. Our everyday realities rarely measure up and often, especially at Christmas, we are consumed with busyness, anxiety, and envious greed--and the peace, joy, and love of Christmas are far from us. 

Sorrow, violence, and grief are close instead. In this 2012 Advent those darker realities are much too near as the news of 20 children and 7 adults murdered in senseless violence invades our peace, floods us with grief, and tempts us to anger. In our celebration of Christmas we rarely remember that sorrow, violence, and grief were present at the first Christmas too.

King Herod so hated the newborn Jesus, the King of Kings long prophesied and now born in Bethlehem, that he ordered the murderous slaughter of all babies under the age of two.  

Weeping and loud lamentation, "Rachel weeping for her children" (Matthew 2:18) was the real and gruesome truth of the world at the time of Jesus' birth. To be at peace, to find joy, and to act with love required faith then as it does now.  

We live with our own slaughter of the innocents, here in America where fragile, tiny, human beings created in God's image are aborted in brutal procedures. As we near the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade in January of 2013, I sometimes wonder where is the weeping of the saints? Where are the hands to hold back the slaughter? and where are the feet of compassion running to rescue? 

So, at this Christmas Season, I pray for God's peace to quiet your soul, for God's joy to set your feet dancing, and for God's love to fill all the empty places in you through Jesus, the Christ. But I also pray that God will disquiet your soul with weeping for innocent lives lost, compel your hands to reach and hold back the slaughter, and impel your feet to run toward babies needing rescue.

The miracle of Christmas is not that our lives are free from insecurity and anxiety, but that through Christ we have peace in the middle of the mess.

The wonder of the Word become flesh is not that we escape sorrow, but that even in our grief we know the joy of Christ's presence with  us.

The glory of Christ in us is that we love radically, even those who mean us harm.

He is our peace.  

In His presence is joy.

We love because He first loved us.