December 10, 2013 - Peace at Christmas
By Arthur Cheek
We are naturally moved by our often-sung Christmas carols; however, they may carry the songwriter's ideas rather than scriptural truth. Personally, I don't believe "Silent Night" really captures what Mary and Joseph experienced when Jesus Christ was born outside the comfort of an inn and laid in a manger.
"I Heard the Bells" may paraphrase the angels' message as "peace on earth, good-will to men!" but Matthew 24:6 reminds us there shall be wars, and rumors of wars, and troubles all around us constantly.
The real hope of Christmas, the real peace God offers, is this — if a person will come into right relationship with God through Jesus Christ, His only Son, that person can experience a peace Philippians 4:7 describes as "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding" that is able to "keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
No matter what the circumstances are, if you are grounded in Christ, you can have His assurance that all is well, that He is truly in charge of the situation. We may not understand what is happening, but our Savior knows the end from the beginning, so patience will work a solution while we are at peace with God and ourselves.
I personally was in the Korean War, was stationed in Europe, and faced a lot of dangerous situations. But this hope has kept my mind on the One who provides the peace, and He has never let me down.
As a police officer during the 1980s, in a hostage situation, my Christian partner shot across the hood of a cruiser between my gun arm and body to kill the man with a gun in my back. Oh, yes, my body reacted, but my assurance of peace never left me.
This kind of peace is a personal, one-on-one kind of an experience that changes your whole perspective on life. It is not a mind change, but a heart change that will control the mind for godly thoughts and actions. The older I get, the more I treasure the miracle of transformation God has brought about in my life through the gift of His Son.
If you would like to experience this kind of peace, read the second chapter of Luke in the Bible. May your life be forever changed by an encounter with the One who came as a Babe in the manger and who died and rose again for the redemption of our sins.
— Arthur Cheek lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.