Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:13-14)
Peace on earth, the angels said. At the time Jesus was born, the known world was experiencing the Pax Romana (Roman Peace) marked by thriving commerce and relatively little military conflict. Opposition to Roman rule was quickly put down, and since most of the desired territories had been conquered, history has recorded this period between Augustus Caesar (sound familiar? see Luke 2:1) from AD 27 through the next 150 years or so as the most peaceful time of the Roman Empire.
So why then did the angels offer this blessing of peace?
The peace they hoped for humanity was not limited to military or even personal conflict. They proclaimed a "deeper, more lasting peace than that--a peace of mind and soul made possible by the Savior."1
This kind of peace is not only available in relationship with God (in fact it must begin there), but also in daily life, in ways that I think we fail to tap into. Let me explain:
My friend Edith is a prayer warrior. For a period of about a year, this precious retiree and I would pray together on a weekly basis. At one time, Edith felt as though her life and even her home were lacking in peace. So, to her morning ritual of getting a cup of coffee and spending time with the Lord in personal devotion, she added a new element. Walking through the house, she would pray over each room and the people that slept or activities that occurred there. For example, walking through her own bedroom, she would pray that she and her husband Wayne would experience restful sleep that night. In the kitchen, she would pray for creativity in meal planning that would result in meals to delight them both. In the dining room, she would pray for joyful and peaceful conversation to surround the table. In the study, she would pray for the Holy Spirit to guide their bill paying and money-handling, so that she and Wayne would be in peaceful agreement about each thing. In the living room, she would pray for a spirit of peace to welcome her guests as they conversed or even watched TV.
One afternoon, I came to the house to pray with Edith and she met me at the door with a glow in her eyes. "It's working!" she said as I stepped inside. My first thought was, "I didn't know the doorbell was broken," but thankfully, she continued before I blurted that out!
That morning, she went on to explain, a TV repairman had come to the house to look at the set in the living room. When she'd let him in the door, she'd noticed a funny expression on his face, but he quickly dismissed it and got to work. After he'd finished and was preparing to leave, he turned back to Edith and said, "I'm in and out of a lot of houses, but your house is the most peaceful I've ever been in." Edith jumped on the opportunity to explain why, telling the man about Christ's saving work, too.
Jesus was called the "Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:6), and promised peace to his disciples (Jn 14:27). I think we forget that aspect of his character and assurance. I hope you and I, like Edith, will tap in to what he's already offered, especially at a time of year when life often becomes more hectic and crazy than ever.
1 NIV Study Bible notes (Luke 2:13-14)
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