The manger scene seems peaceful with kings bearing gifts, shepherds bowing down, and Mary and Joseph smiling at Jesus. When we take a closer look, we find three kings who are probably exhausted from their travels and are caught in a political catch-22 with King Herod. Shepherds were considered to be unclean and even loathsome, not wanted in the inner temple area, and brought with them sheep and other unsavory aromas. After the long journey and being too late to find lodging, hunger and discouragement may have met Mary and Joseph at the doorway of the stable, with its' animals, straw, manure, germs and bugs. Bummer! But with all this uncomfortable stuff going on, Peace came.
The Prince of Peace arrived without any fancy Facebook announcement and without any fanfare to the rich, powerful or important. God's son, who was to bring eternal peace between God and man, left heaven to be born as an ordinary man. For a season, he exchanged heaven for earth. He exchanged his home, which was filled with the love and presence of His Father, to live among men, women, and children. He grew; he laughed; he cried; he walked; he spoke; he loved; he wept; he died -- He did it all to bring peace among men.
Sometimes we miss the simple stuff right in front of our face. Everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior can participate in the beautiful ministry of making and maintaining peace in the world. Matthew 5:9 says, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God." The loving act of choosing to make and maintain peace in your family brings glory to God. We can carry peace into every atmosphere and every interaction. Yes, this is possible if we humble ourselves and choose to forgive, offer an apology, guard our lips, or reach out our hands in friendship once again.
In our human weakness, hurtful words and thoughtless actions may produce strife and division. Maybe we have not ever been introduced to wise and peaceful ways. We may not know how to be a peacemaker, but we can be encouraged by Galatians 5:22 which says, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." But with PaPa God...
The Spirit of God within us knows how to plant and grow the fruit of peace in our lives. We can ask Jesus to show us His peace and how to rest in it and release peace in our daily lives. It is possible if we talk with God and choose to walk in love.
Wouldn't enjoying a peace-filled Christmas be the perfect gift to give to those we love?