Advent--the four weeks leading up to Christmas--are a season of waiting as we prepare for the celebration of Christ's birth. However, Jesus said he would come again to bring a New Heaven and a New Earth. Advent is also to prepare so we will be ready when Jesus comes. No one knows the day or our of Christ's return for the world; it could be in the next moment or in a thousand years. However, everyone can be sure Christ will come for them individually in their life time--for no one escapes death and when we die we will each see Jesus face to face. Will you be ready? Can you be at peace with your inevitable personal encounter with the second coming of the Son of God? now is the time to prepare so you can have real peace.
Luke 2:(8-12,) 13-14
It is no wonder the angel started his message by saying, “Don’t be afraid!” It would be quite frightening to see an angel appear in the middle of the night. The shepherds were prepared to protect their sheep from wild animals and thieves, but what do you do with an angelic being? And then it was not just one angel, it was a whole army from heaven!
Peace? Really? And army is designed for fighting and killing and war. They come bearing weapons. And this army is a host of angels! That is not the kind of thing that makes me think of peace! So the angel assured them toey came to bring peace and there was no need to be afraid.
How freeing and exciting it can be when we witness something of amazing power and majesty and also know we have nothing to fear. I think that may have been how Jesus felt. Remember the time a terribly fierce storm arose while he and the disciples were out on a boat? The disciples are afraid for their life, but Jesus is asleep. You see, he had nothing to fear from the storm. His only concern was the cross he would be nailed to one day. So he could enjoy the storm--marveling in the power and wonder of it or let the wind and wave and thunder sing him to peaceful sleep.
Are you afraid of the thunder? What if you were absolutely certain the storm would not harm you? Could you then just watch and enjoy the thrill and beauty of it all? What about life? What about the eventual end that awaits us all?
Surrender means trusting in God’s way, not ours. And we have to accept that God’s way is not our way. Things will have to change. We have to find peace with the changes God brings as He rights all the wrongs in our world and our lives.
You can have real peace because of what Christ has already done for you. The Bad News is we have all sinned and fallen short of God's glorious standard (Romans 3:23). No one can be good enough to earn God's love or favor. And unfortunately, the consequences of sin is death (Romans 6:23a). So, anyone who tries to win God over by the things they do is bound to fail miserably. Not only will you fail miserably to bring peace and order and fulfillment to your life, you will also live in fear of as an rebellious enemy of God. That is the Bad News, but the angels came to bring Good News and here it is!
The Good News is God sent Jesus to be born as a human being, to live as one of us (but without sin), and to die to cover the consequences of our sin. So we don’t have to be guilty or ashamed or afraid. God, through Jesus Christ, has already done everything that needs to be done. As Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.”
Now, that doesn’t mean we do nothing. First of all, we have to surrender. The war is over. God has won. He offers forgiveness and reconciliation to all who surrender. Second, Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a master who went away on a trip. He put the servants in charge until his return. Now the servants must decide if they are going to do the Master's will or if they will just goof off until the Master returns. What will the Master find His servant's doing when He returns?
Over the next few weeks, many of you will receive guests in home for the holidays. Many of you are preparing for your guest even now--cleaning, vacuuming, mopping, washing, putting things away. But what if you're guest showed up a few days early? Would you be ready? Or would you be ashamed your guests would find your home in disarray with things still out on the counter your didn't want them to see? It would be better if we all just kept our homes clean all the time so we would have nothing to be ashamed of if a guest came unexpectedly.
Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour when he will return (he doesn't even know himself, only God knows). Therefore, we should always strive to always have you life in order, to be doing the things Christ asks his followers to do. That way we will have nothing to fear and we can have real peace. So live your life in such a way that people always know you love them and nothing is ever left undone or unsaid that need to be done and said.
Let There Be Peace on Earth Real Peace starts with you and spreads to those around you. It starts with the choice you make today, right now. It continues with the choices you make as you start each new day as you choose to follow Jesus’ plan instead of your own until Jesus’ plan is your plan. It spreads as you share the Good News and love of Jesus with everyone around you. Before you know it, peace spread further and further as more and more surrender to the true Lord of Heaven and Earth.
United Methodists have a wonderful Hymn in our hymnal written by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson. Here is an excerpt about the song from https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-let-there-be-peace-on-earth.