The Real Peace On Earth
"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.There is no such thing." C.S. Lewis
When I strip away the glittery lights, soothing smells, and tasty food this time of year, the harsher, more cynical voice in me sees a Christmas mess. If you're part of the chaos you may experience...
Time pressure. Money worries. Family misunderstandings. Travel headaches.Too much food, too little sleep, and not nearly enough parking spots.
These are first-world problems, to be sure, but when you live in the first world, it's your reality. Even when you recognize your ridiculous frustrations, it's hard to keep a broader perspective.
However, the activity - all of the stuff - all of the vaguely dissatisfying pursuits - can still serve a bigger purpose; if you look closely, they remind us how lasting happiness isn't found in what we have, in what we do, or even in what we experience. These activities of life don't feel like enough, because they aren't.
The things take up time and our energy, are faint shadows of what's real. The wonder of Christmas isn't about a virgin birth, but about God giving us himself.
Peace on earth came in the form of a person, Jesus.
As a kid, I was always confused about the whole "peace on earth" thing. Even kids can recognize the world is not at peace. I brushed it off and sang the other, less confusing carols.
Then I realized, peace on earth wasn't about ending wars between nations, but about ending the war in our hearts, to repair our relationship with God. Jesus was a gift because he made the way for such peace. He tells us we have a God who wants to know us, love us, and make a way for a relationship.
It's only when I step away from the holiday shenanigans and see the stable that I recognize something bigger; when I see lasting happiness is always about a person, Emmanuel, God with us.