Prepared for Peace
Dr. Doug Posey
It’s just days away! Serenaded by the likes of Johnny Mathis, Mariah Carey, Michael Bublé and Bing Crosby, the malls are abuzz with shoppers seeking the gifts that will bring smiles and satisfaction on that most celebrated of all holidays; the day that we commemorate the arrival of the Christ, God-made-flesh, our Redeemer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the retailers really hope it will be!
Though materialism and dysfunctional family relationships can overshadow the true meaning and joy of Christmas, the arrival of a baby in Bethlehem just over 2000 years ago is still at the heart of the holiday. But it didn’t begin with the actual nativity. It began—much like it does now—with anticipation. We officially commemorate the anticipation of Christ’s arrival with a tradition we call, “Advent.” Thus, we embark on the seasonal shopping frenzy. But, the anticipation prior to the actual birth 2,000 years ago was quite different.
God’s people, the Jews, awaited a Savior. For 400 years the prophets had been silent. But, God had promised a Redeemer through the prophecies of old.
The Roman government governed through a dictatorship that brought forced “peace” and brutal oppression. The people of God, with a great sense of hope, sought the promised Messiah—a powerful Savior who would overthrow the Romans and re-establish the kind of theocracy they read about through the history recounted in their Scriptures.
They knew the King was coming, they just didn’t know when. They also weren’t fully aware of what to look for. They had missed some of the signs and the true nature of the Prince of Peace, coming as a “suffering servant.” They were ready for Him in terms of their general hope. Unfortunately, most weren’t ready enough to recognize him.
Though this is the season for anticipating the celebration of the first arrival of Jesus, there is something else to anticipate. JESUS IS COMING AGAIN! Are you ready?
No sooner are we through digesting the massive quantities of calories consumed on Thanksgiving than we are preparing in earnest for Christmas. Most of us break out the lights for the house, go tree shopping (or as in our case, wrestle it out of the rafters) and transform the home into the perfect abode to welcome another Yuletide celebration, one that satisfies the memories of Christmas past and does justice to the season at hand. No one wants to be caught unprepared for Christmas.
Every year it seems the stores get ready earlier and earlier for the holiday that will yield the biggest profits of all. They begin decorating with trees, baubles, bows and Santas, barely seconds after Halloween. Many are ready for “The Holidays” (and we all know the money-maker is Christmas), but few are ready for Christ. They think that if the coffers are sufficiently full at the conclusion of the spending season, they can breath a sigh of relief and experience a sense of “peace.” But, no matter the financial gain, true peace remains just beyond reach.
People tend to confuse the price of peace with the Prince of Peace. Rather than associating peace with the bottom line on the ledger, the lesson from Christmas is that peace is associated with the baby lying in the manger. The money will leave and never return, but the Messiah is coming back again. It is only by being ready for that event—His return—that one can experience true peace.
As you get ready for this Christmas, experience the peace that doesn’t come from being ready for December 25th, but ready to see Him, whenever that happens!
“Yes, I am coming quickly.” —Revelation 22:20