Day 1. The Prince of Peace
Why did the world need a Prince of Peace?
You will be forgiven in thinking that 2020 is the ‘actual worst’ the world has ever known. But in the years following the birth of Christ, the Jewish state (under Roman rule) was in complete chaos. The paranoid and brutal Herod the Great had died, and a bloody battle for power in Israel had broken out. Thousands of Jews would be killed by rebellions, dissents and uprisings as they sought to free themselves from Roman oppression.
Jesus was effectively born into a war zone. The people were pining for a messiah, a Prince of Peace, to save them. As God so often does, He subverts our expectations. The Messiah would not bring a stable political state and freedom from Roman rule, God’s plan is always so much bigger!
God’s Prince of Peace would not bring freedom from the Romans, but freedom from sin. He would not be a symbol of peace for His time on earth, but for then, now in 2020, and until the end of eternity.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
Through this sacrifice, we have peace that no troubling circumstance, no terrible persecution and no corrupt abuse of power can take away from us.
As you go into the Christmas season, take time to be filled with the presence of the Prince of Peace.
Day 2. 2020 – Do not be afraid
From big fires, a global killer virus, lockdowns to general unrest, 2020 will go down in history as a year most people who lived through it would want to forget.
As Christians, it’s often hard to put up a brave face when our spirit is uneasy. There can be no doubt that something in the unseen is happening. But what an opportunity chaos and crisis present for believers. This is an opportunity to strengthen your faith, to grow your dependence on God and to truly understand what it means to find strength in the joy of the Lord.
“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
We so often hear it preached, we read it and we even quote it, but when the world throws a curveball like 2020 at you, do you really practice Jesus’ reassuring command “do not be afraid.”? The world cannot give us peace, not like the Prince of Peace can.
Once we stop worrying about things out of our control, the fog will lift and we will clearly hear Jesus saying “I’ve got this.” And with that revelation, we will be agents of positive change to all the people around us.
Day 3. Inner Peace
Where does inner peace come from? Many people search for it, some even tap into some key kingdom principles and reap the rewards of God’s grace without identifying as a reborn Christian. However, there is only one way to truly know peace in the storm, peace in a dark place, peace when the boss is breathing down your neck for something they wanted “yesterday” and peace when your heart is shattered into a million pieces by the loss of a loved one.
Through Jesus, the storm will be stilled. (Mark 4:39) Through Jesus there is light in the dark. (John 8:12) Jesus is Lord and he fights for you (Exodus 14:14), and Jesus will give you back your joy after a time of grief (John 16:22).
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
Jesus is the one and only way to true inner peace, all we have to do is believe and confess He is the son of God. That is the true gift of Christmas and it’s why we celebrate! May the presence of Jesus fill the hearts of you and your family, as you rejoice the birth of the Prince of Peace.
Day 4. What is peace?
The Hebrew meaning of peace in the Bible, is to have completeness, soundness and well-being. To break it down even more, when Jesus says he wants us to have peace, he wants us to be complete people. Like a jig-saw puzzle, people can’t look at us and see all God had intended unless we are completed. When we accept the Prince of Peace, meaning when we let go of worry and things that upset us, the door is open for Jesus to come complete us, to make us sound of spirit and lift our general well-being.
Let’s face it everything seems to speed up in the lead up to Christmas, workloads increase, best-made plans for budgets get crushed under the weight of holiday preparations (and expectations), hours seem to vanish off of the clock face, and stress levels reach unprecedented heights. More than likely, you are feeling weary and burdened, like it’s just all just too much.
The good news is that onto us a child is born! Jesus says “Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.
Peace is when you let Jesus give you freedom from stress and worry – it completes you; it makes you sound of spirit and uplifts your health, happiness and providence.
Day 5. Peacemakers
There is something in the air during Christmas time, even the “world” can’t help but be infected by the spirit of goodwill. Christmas is a great time to be generous and charitable.
But even these good gifts can be tainted, if we attach earthly wisdom to our deeds, instead of keeping heaven in mind when we give in to the season of giving and cheer.
Do we put Christmas lights up at our homes because we want to bring cheers to the onlookers, or do we do it because we don’t want to be upstaged by our neighbour? Do we give a gift to a relative or friend because they gave us a gift last year, or do we give freely without any conditions? When we give or do good deeds, while we harbour envy or have selfish ambition, we cannot be the peacemakers God wishes us to be.
How can we be “princes of peace” to reflect Christ in us? It always stems from humility. When we understand that all we are and have are gifts from God, then it guides our actions to always be “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17
Everything we do, is a choice. The choice is a seed, and that seed will reap a harvest. If we sow peace with our choices – even the smallest ones, like not taking credit for a complement accidentally given to someone else for the Pavlova you spent hours to craft – we will be “Peacemakers who sow in peace (and) reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18