We just spent the last few weeks wishing others or being wished by others peace for the Christmas season. It seems the idea of peace, at least on certain greeting cards, is a bit skewed from what Jesus has told us about peace. People hear the word peace and assume it’s locked onto the word quiet. They see a quaint fire with a couch and a mug of some hot drink. Maybe one person with feet up or a few quietly enjoying the fire and each other’s company. Maybe it’s the image of Mother Mary watching Baby Jesus sleeping in the manger. Either way, the images are usually calm and quiet, but is that really what peace is?
John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” The world would give us peace using the above-mentioned imagery: quiet and calm and relaxing. Jesus gives us a different kind of peace, true peace, so that even though we may undergo tribulation, our hearts are at peace for He has “overcome the world.” (John 16:33) If Jesus has overcome the world and He’s on our side, then we can be assured that He will not let evil overcome us so long as we keep Him close in our hearts.
These have been incredibly stressful times. Families disagree to the point of feuds of whether or not they will see each other based on medical choices, fear, and which propaganda they follow. Employers are either struggling to stay staffed, firing staff despite the staffing shortages, or struggling to follow guidelines and still attain business. People are anywhere from afraid and staying home to angry and causing scenes in grocery stores over mask-wearing, to simply dividing themselves and no longer connecting with one another. Hardly peaceful by either definition.
How can we find peace of any sort, let alone true peace which should be our goal, if we’re stressed, angry, and divided as a community? The answer, as with most questions, is Jesus. Those who have a strong faith and reliance on Him will find peace more easily no matter their opinions. If you follow the mainstream and all the complicated rules and guidelines but you also trust in God, you will not fall into the trap of fear and anger as easily. If you stick to your faith and do what you feel is best for yourself and your family, keeping Jesus close in your heart daily, you will remain peaceful despite financial or public opinion difficulties.
Certainly there are right and wrong choices, but creating fierce dialog or worse is not going to promote the peace Jesus wants for us. The Holy Spirit isn’t going to live in a harmful or fearful heart. We must trust in Him and believe in His guidance, even if that means disagreeing. He may even change minds, but we’ll never know if it’s God or fear if we’re not close enough to God to recognize him. We must remain loving, trusting of God only, and open to what He’s telling us. Only then will we find true peace.