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Fourth Advent Sunday: Christ is Our Peace

Luke 2:8-14, Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

During the time period when Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph, Caesar Augustus was on the throne as the Emperor of Rome. Julius Caesar, his adoptive father, had been declared to be "The Divine Julius" making Augustus known as "The Son of the Divine" and his birthday celebrated as a day which brought peace to the world. But those titles were not true. Julius Caesar was not divine, nor was Augustus the son of the divine. The peace heralded about Augustus's birth was a false peace, for it was not founded on truth.

The angels declared to the shepherds in Luke 2 that this day of Jesus's birth was a day where great glory to God in the highest is given, and also a day of peace and goodwill for mankind. This was a heavenly declaration of peace given by means of Jesus, the true Son of God. This fourth Sunday of Advent is known as "The Angel's Candle" and represents peace - true peace.

Isaiah the prophet spoke of a son being born to a virgin woman. He would be a human, but also divine, for his name was "Emmanuel" which means God dwelling with man. This child was later spoken of by Isaiah as being known as "the Prince of Peace." What Isaiah prophesied 700 years prior had come to pass. Peace had come to earth that night in this son born named Jesus.

It is through salvation in Jesus Christ that we have peace with God (Romans 5:1). It is through ongoing sanctification in Jesus Christ that we can have an ongoing peace of God (Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus himself said that he gives a kind of peace that is completely unlike the world (John 14:27). The world can advertise peace through its various means, but it cannot deliver on its promise.

Peace is something that people today crave, yet few people find. The way of peace is revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Outside of Christ, a person is at odds with God and will experience inner chaos and unrest. Do we not see that in our world today? Can we not observe that as much as people try to look like they are at peace with life and with God, there is no true peace in their souls?

While our world frolics in the chaos and cesspool of living life apart from the God of peace, Jesus says, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace" (John 16:33). True peace in this life and the next cannot come through mere human or earthly means. Peace cannot be obtained through medications, food, alcohol, drugs, sexual escapades, great humanitarian efforts, or even through human friendships. True peace comes through submitting to the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose birth, life, death, and resurrection provides peace with God.

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Text: Charles Wesley, 1739

Hark! The herald angels sing, "

Glory to the newborn King.

Peace on earth and mercy mild,

God and sinners reconciled!"

Joyful, all ye nations rise;

Join the triumph of the skies;

With th'angelic host proclaim,

"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"

Hark! The herald angels sing,

"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored,

Christ, the everlasting Lord,

Late in time behold Him come,

Offspring of the virgin's womb.

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

Hail the incarnate Deity,

Pleased as man with men to dwell,

Jesus our Emmanuel.

Hark! The herald angels sing,

"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n born Prince of Peace!

Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

Light and life to all He brings,

Ris'n with healing in His wings.

Mild He lays His glory by,

Born that man no more may die,

Born to raise the sons of earth,

Born to give them second birth.

Hark! The herald angels sing,

"Glory to the newborn King!"


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