The idea of peace is associated with Christmas time. This makes sense because the Bible says that Jesus came to bring us peace on earth.
Luke 1:78-79 Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
Luke 2:13-14 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
While Jesus came to bring peace, it often seems that the holidays are a time of conflict and strife. So what does it really mean that Jesus brings peace and how do we experience it in our lives?
Jesus brings peace between God and us
The root of all conflict is the same – sin. It is in all of us and it fundamentally breaks us, affecting every relationship we have, first and foremost with God. In fact, it makes us his enemies!
Colossians 1:21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.
God is perfectly holy, which means that he is completely separate from sin. While he longs to connect with us, our sin makes that impossible. He did something to remove that barrier of sin that stood between us and him. He sent Jesus to sacrifice his life to pay the price for our sin.
Romans 5:1;10 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
When we put our faith in Jesus, our sin is removed and now we have peace with God. We are no longer his enemies, but now in a loving relationship with him. This is why Christmas is such a celebration – we now have peace with God!
Jesus brings peace between us and others
Jesus not only brings between God and humanity, but also to human relationships. Since conflict flows out of sin, once sin is forgiven it opens the way for peace between us. Peace in our earthly relationships is the natural result of being at peace with God. Therefore, Christians should actively pursue peace in our relationships with others. We should remember that Jesus said “blessed are the peacemakers.”
1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you.They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.
Peace isn’t some distant, ethereal reality that comes through meditation or wishful thinking – it comes through our choice to actively pursue it. The Bible gives us wisdom on how to do that.
Colossians 3:13-15 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
Extend peace to jerks
Because we live in a sinful world, we will always have to deal with jerks. But as Christians, we’re called to “make allowances” and “forgive” people in our lives who hurt us. We need to extend the same type of grace to others that God extends to us.
Don’t be a jerk
It’s easy to point the fingers at others, but often we’re part of the problem. In any conflict we need to make sure we’re not continuing the problem but changing our attitudes and actions to try and make peace. We also need to make sure that we’re not the type of people who stir up contention and drama – this is the opposite of what it means to be a Christian.
If you want to begin experiencing more peace this Christmas season, as well as the rest of the year as well, start by being at peace with God by putting your faith in Jesus. Then let God change you from the inside out so that you become a person who actively pursues peace.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Growing up in your home, was Christmas a time of peace and harmony or conflict and stress? Describe and explain why it was the way it was.
- Read Luke 2:13-14. What do you think the shepherd thought when he was told that this newborn child would bring “peace on earth.” Is it the same or different as what you think of today as “peace on earth?” Describe.
- Read Colossians 1:21. Is it hard to think of yourself as an enemy of God, apart from salvation? If so, why?
- Describe in your own words why sin breaks our relationship with God.
- Read 1 Peter 3:8-9. What would it look like to intentionally “pursue peace” in your relationships?
- Read Colossians 3:13-15. What does it mean to “make allowances” for each other’s faults? What does it look like to “clothe yourselves with love?”
- What would you say to a Christian who says “it’s just their personality” to be contentious and argumentative and doesn’t feel like it’s a big deal?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.