Sometimes people may wonder what the birth of one baby two thousand years ago has to do with our frantic lives in the 21st century. We read the daily headlines and feel a disconnect between our day to day realities and the meaning of Christmas. The phrase Peace on Earth rings hollow when wars and conflicts rage across the globe. Desperate refugees roam the earth with no place to call home; lawless and evil men slaughter innocent children. Women are abused and oppressed as brutal dictators threaten and evil men mock. Strange viruses kill, violent storms destroy, racism divides – our airwaves shriek with screams of angry people determined to convert others to their way of thinking, and the streets of our cities burn and boil over with frustration and fear.
What once seemed so far away, what always happens to someone else, has rolled right up to our doorstep. Here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we find ourselves bound and living in fear because of problems we cannot solve, wars we cannot win, plagues we cannot cure, divisions we cannot heal, and evil we cannot begin to wrap our minds around, let alone fight. And as the storm clouds darken, we continue to live day in and day out with the pressures, disappointments, worries, and sufferings common to every human being. It can be overwhelming – or just depressing.
So what does the birth of that one baby mean to you and me in our increasingly fragile and frightening world? In a word, everything.
It means we don’t have to live fearful and anxious lives because his love is stronger than our fear and his peace more powerful than our anxieties. The one born to be the Prince of Peace said: I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous! Remember what I’ve told you that I must go away, but I promise to come back to you.
He is no longer a helpless babe in a Christmas manger. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end – the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One. The one who promises never to leave us or forsake us. The one who said – be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age
World-systems may crumble, our human heroes may fail, and it may seem that our world is falling apart. But God is ever-present in this troubled world, and his kingdom of righteousness, love, and peace steadily advances. Rest assured.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ. So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always. Follow the example of all that we have imparted to you and the God of peace will be with you in all things. – Philippians 4:6-9 (Passion Translation )