Peace In Trouble Times

I read an interesting article this past week in Slate magazine from December 2014. In it the authors, Steven Pinker & Andrew Mack, provide statistical proof that the world has never been more at peace than it is now. People live longer; there are fewer homicides, less violent attacks, and less armed conflicts. The emphasis is on the fact the news always has enough to fill a news report or daily cycle, but they argue that things have never been better relative to history than today.

Pinker and Mack say, “Never mind the headlines. We’ve never lived in such peaceful times.”

Surely there must be something better than this. Better than bombings, rapes, slavery, wars, conflicts, terrorists, dictators, death, pain, anguish, and gloom. God’s word tells us that there is something better. There is a day coming where there will be no gloom or anguish; a day where there will be no more tears.

In Isaiah 9:1-7 God reveals to Isaiah the coming day of the Messiah. In the midst of trouble and impending doom for Israel, Isaiah sees hope in the dawning of the light of the Messiah. We celebrate this child at Christmas in the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the light that dawns. Jesus rules over His kingdom giving hope, providing peace, inspiring joy, and revealing love to the nations.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. In His kingdom, there is no turmoil or conflict. In His kingdom, there is no pain or anguish. The kingdom of Christ is more than the absence of conflict; it is the presence of Christ. This reality stands in stark contrast to the idea that peace is just the absence of turmoil and tension. Where Jesus is, there is peace.

Jesus has overcome the world. He has overcome sin and death to redeem those who receive Him by faith through the grace of God. He has given us peace through the gift of the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Christians today do have peace in the midst of troubling times. The peace that Christians know is through Christ. His peace is present in His church as He reigns in the hearts & minds of His followers, and through his rule by His Word and the Holy Spirit.

Pinker and Mack have missed the point. Peace isn’t the removal of something; it is the coming of a someone: the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. Christmas serves to remind us each year that peace has come to the earth in Christ, it has been purchased by His sacrifice on the cross, and will come eternally at his second coming.

Pay attention to the headlines, there is no peace on earth. But there will be. Share the Gospel where you see no peace. Be an example to the world of a citizen of the kingdom of Christ. Work for the good of those in need. Be an agent of peace in the world for the glory of God.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s Poem: I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day

(For a great explanation of the poem’s context Click Here)

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

and wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along the unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime, A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong, And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

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