1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. — Romans 5:1–2 (ESV)
Peace feels like such a foreign word right now. 2020 has been anything but peaceful. We have all had front row seats to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of us have been touched by it in some capacity. In addition to that, we have been reminded of the reality of injustice in our country which has sometimes led to peaceful protests but at other times has ended up in violent riots and acts of injustice against others. And if all of that wasn’t enough, we are in the midst of what feels like the ugliest and most divisive political season of our lifetime. Many of us are “checking out” in an attempt to find peace or at least avoid the conflict. While checking out might provide a measure of immediate relief, it cannot deliver the deep and true peace that our souls long for.
The fundamental human need is not peace with each other, as important as that is. Our greatest need is for peace with the Triune God who made us in his image for his glory and purposes. Each of us was made for relationship with God. We need it like a fish needs water, like lungs need air. Every hint of horizontal strife and unrest that we experience serves as a painful reminder of the vertical peace we so desperately need with God.
This is the peace that comes as a result of being justified and reconciled to God through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). Our sin has separated us from God, putting us at odds with our Heavenly Father. Until our sin is dealt with, we can have no peace. The peace that we need is costly. It’s not something that we can purchase, for our sins are far too great and the price is far too high. The peace that we need requires a greater sacrifice. That sacrifice is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ upon the cross, in our place and for our sins. This is the Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. Born in a manger, crucified on the tree. The cross is the point of Christmas, and peace with God and the forgiveness of sins is the gift that Christmas gives. Jesus was born to die so that we who were dead in sin might have peace through faith in him. We have no greater need. There is no greater gift.
Heavenly Father, you are worthy beyond measure.
Sweet is your love and rich are your mercies.
We ache for your coming.
We cry out to you today, crippled and mangled by our own sins. We’ve been turning elsewhere for satisfaction
but have been left wanting.
We bring you our fear, our anxiety, our greed, our need for control, our need to be loudest, our need to be right. Won’t you wash these away with waves of your comfort, Great Healer?
Restore our hearts and replace our turmoil
with the peace of the Lord.
Many are the ways this election threatens to cloud our hearts and hold hostage our Advent season.
But greater still is the claim that you have on our hearts, O Lord.
We confess, we do not always live as if this is true.
We feebly fail to give you our allegiance before
any political party or group.
Shamefully, your Church lacks peace and we divide over
man-made law rather than finding unity in yours.
You were born to die so that we who were dead in our sin would have peace through faith.
There is no other restoration or reconciliation outside of
your blood-bought Kingdom.
Oh that every nativity scene we see might serve as
an undeniable reminder of your peace that passes understanding!
Let us see every bit of strife and unrest around us as
a declaration of our need for you.
Teach us, O Lord, not only to live in your peace
but to carry it with us wherever we go.
Let them know us by our love:
By our words,
By our deeds,
By our comment sections.
Peace was born in Bethlehem, yet it is with us now.
May the aroma of your holy calm permeate our souls.
Christ, fortify your Church and unify us with your love.