You sleep through your alarm and realize you’ll be late.
Your kids throw their breakfast all over the floor.
You get in the car and spill coffee on your shirt.
You forget about a meeting and feel unprepared.
You share something personal with a friend and feel misunderstood.
You invest in something or someone but you receive nothing in return.
You look at your bank account and realize money is tighter than you thought.
Your marriage is tense, your parenting is exhausting, and your work is mundane.
Friends, let’s be honest. Life can be hard.
Each day is challenging and full of ups and downs and curve balls and storms.
In this Advent season, as we anticipate and wait and prepare for Christmas, let’s take a collective deep breath and ask God for one thing:
Let that word sink in. Peace. Let it consume your mind and heart. Peace. Let it taste like honey on your lips. Peace.
In English, the word “peace” conjures up a passive picture, one showing an absence of civil disturbance or hostilities, or a personality free from internal and external strife.
But the biblical concept of peace is much larger and deeper and stronger than the beauty queen’s token answer at every pageant.
Shalom is the Hebrew word for Peace. Whether we realize it or not, this is what we want and are looking for every single day.
Wholeness. Completeness. Fullness. Soundness.
Contentment. Well-being. Harmony.
That moment where we don’t need or want anything else. That moment where we lack nothing. And that moment where we trust everything will be okay. The past, the present, and the future.
So how do we get this peace?
It’s not found in a package on your doorstep or in a bigger vacation or nicer house or in the latest fashion or in a mate or in Starbucks or in gaining more respect.
The source of true, lasting, perfect peace is found in a lowly, obscure, humble, and not very flashy place. It is found in the straw. By the cow’s dung. In an animal’s feeding trough.
True peace is found in a God who loved us so much that He stepped down from His heavenly throne and was born in an earthly home. True peace is found in the person of Jesus.
This is our real home. Not a street or a building or a living room. But Jesus.
I love the response of those “lowly” shepherds 2,000 years ago, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger” (Luke 2:15-16).
Those “forgotten cast-offs.” Those “unclean nobodies.” But God still loved them. And He knew they had room in their hearts for a kind of peace not found in the material world.
So no wonder they dropped their staffs, left their sheep, and ran like “chariots of fire” to see Jesus. They were hungry. They were thirsty. They needed a Savior.
And they arrived two miles later, hunched over, huffing and puffing, and out of breath. One at a time, they peered over the manger and laid eyes on the Prince of perfect peace.
Now bear with me for a moment. If baby Jesus could talk, what would He say?:
#1. Don’t be lonely or afraid. I am your home. And I am with you always.
#2. Don’t worry about what others think. I love you, and that’s all that matters.
#3. Don’t trust in your own strength. Trust in mine. I am your shepherd.
So the shepherds “spread the word and all who heard it were amazed at what they said to them…and the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen…” (2:17-20).
When was the last time you had an encounter with Jesus?
No appointment is needed. He is accessible. He is available. He wants to fill your darkness with light. And He wants to fill your heart with shalom. Will you let Him?
Friends, in the midst of a life and world full of bad news, may we take time daily to hear the Good News.
Like the shepherds, may we hit the pause button and stand in awe of the presence of God.
May we stop running hard after the empty pursuits of this world, and start running hard after the person of Jesus.
May we not just find peace and keep peace, but may we make peace with others and spread the word here, near, and far.
And may we remember that this place is not our home. That our permanent address is with Jesus, now and for eternity.