Date: 25 Dec 2015
Text: Luke 2:10-11
So, Christmas is here, a time of presents, family and food. A time when we see people we haven’t seen for a long time and a time when we send Christmas cards to people we don’t see from year to year. Do you get any joy from that or are you just going through the motions? Sending Christmas cards to one another is meant to bring some joy and, let’s face it, there’s precious little joy in the world at the moment. If that is the case then why can’t we show some joy at Christmas? Many seem to try and gain joy from the expensive presents that they’ve given or have received. That suggests to me that sadly many don’t even know that Jesus is the reason for Christmas and they don’t even think of Him or of the joy and peace that He came to bring. The whole season seems to have sunk into a pit of commercialism, rather than joy, just money and profit.
When the angels appeared to the shepherds they talked of the good news that, “will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Do you feel that joy? Do you get excited at the prospect of celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the world? There are many of course who don’t. They belong to the ranks of those who show no interest in God and what He has to offer. They feel that they can obtain the joy that is missing from their lives by building a career, earning lots of money and having the latest electronic gadgets every year. The joy that such things bring is transient; it is very short lived. The joy and peace that they may feel at having obtained all these ‘things’ soon fades into a morose sadness when the bill arrives or the job they have isn’t quite what they expected. The joy and peace that the world offers through materialism is always short lived. It is a passing fancy and will soon fade to join all the other long forgotten memories. Where’s the joy in that? Every year people like that have to go out and buy another dose of joy at probably a higher price than they paid the year before.
Consider though the joy felt by Christians the world over, not just at Christmas but all the year round. We have a joy that many don’t understand and that is because we know that we have been forgiven for all our wrongdoing by a loving God Who gave His Son to pay the price for our sins. Not only have we been forgiven but we have been welcomed into God’s family and as a result we will spend all eternity with Him in paradise. However, not only does knowing Jesus bring us great joy but it also brings peace in our hearts, a peace that means whatever happens around us or to us we have Jesus on our side.
Paul told the Ephesians, in Ephesians 2:17, that Jesus came to preach peace and he told the Romans that, “since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). What an amazing peade for us to have! Shortly before His crucifixion Jesus was with His disciples and was talking to them about what was about to happen, He said to them, “Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). Jesus’ words still apply today; no matter what may trouble others, since Jesus gives us peace in our hearts we have no need to “let not our hearts be troubled”. No amount of money spent on Christmas presents can ever buy a gift as great as that. No fancy new electronic gadget can ever bring the peace in our hearts that Jesus brings to all who accept Him as Lord and Saviour.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could share in the joy and peace that only Jesus can bring? When we look at what is happening in the world today I’m sure you’ll agree that there is a great need of peace. There is a need for peace in the hearts of individuals in this community, this country and the world over. There is a need for peace between communities and nations who are involved in conflict at varying levels. But, fear not, there is a peace available to all who seek it and it is a peace that comes through Jesus Christ, that baby Whose birth we celebrate today.
More and more “stuff” won’t bring peace at any level no matter how much it cost, so let us pray that more would come to know Jesus and His peace. In the meantime, enjoy the joy of Christmas and just spend a few moments meditating on the peace that Jesus came to bring.