Early in Luke chapter 2, we find the scene where God announced the miraculous birth of Christ with a heavenly pageantry of angels.
Rather than the earthly royal announcement of King Jesus with all the expected pomp and circumstance due to a king, God let ordinary people in on the arrival of Christ. We see ordinary Shepherds, people like the average common man, who were the first to know.
Those shepherds found joy that evening in learning that God was doing something, that He was providing a way. We too can find joy in treasuring God’s provision.
As a counselor, I often walk with people in the moments of life that seem the hardest. Those moments can feel desperate, and we often live under the illusion that we can solve all of our problems by ourselves. However, God uses those moments to remind us that we need Him and what He provides.
God never intended for us to thrive on our own apart from His provision.
The birth of Christ reminds us of two things God provides that we can still experience today. These provisions can be great sources of joy just as they were on the first Christmas night.
The Joy of Experiencing God’s Sufficient Grace
As you think about your life over the last month, have you been treasuring the gift of God’s grace? We can get lost in the beauty of Christmas, the gifts and pageantry, the family and fun, but Christmas has a more significant reality.
Titus 2:11 simply but powerfully captures the Christmas message, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.”
We need grace for the forgiveness of our sins, and God provided it on Christmas at great cost. Grace is a remarkable gift, better than anything currently under our trees, and worthy of our focus this Christmas.
Grace impacts the way we treat others this Christmas as well. When you experience God’s grace and treasure it, you don’t have to make others in your life earn grace. We can trust that God’s grace will give us what we need, even when others disappoint us.
Take time this Christmas season to refocus on God’s gift of grace, and it will become a powerful source of joy in your life.
The Joy of Experiencing God’s Perfect Peace
As the shepherds stood and marveled at the announcement of the coming King, they heard a powerful proclamation of “peace on earth.”
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” – Luke 2:14
The arrival of the king brought the possibility of peace to their nation. While many expected a political kingdom, God intended a spiritual kingdom where His peace would rule in our hearts and minds.
Jesus came so that we might experience peace as He intended it from the beginning. He reminds us of this truth in John 16:33 – “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
At times the tribulations and trials of this world can rob us of our peace, and tempt us to run from God instead of to Him. God doesn’t ever throw us out of His family, but we can distance ourselves from God in sin and shame. Our fellowship with God can be hindered, and we won’t experience peace on a personal level.
The message of Christmas is that peace is found to the greatest degree possible in Christ.
Take some time this Christmas season and refocus your mind and heart on pursuing Christ and the treasure that He is. When our mind is focused on what He provides, we experience peace and joy in abundance, even when the trials of life come.
If joy has been hard for you to find this Christmas season, refocus your mind on what God has provided. We can experience joy when we treasure God’s grace and experience the peace that is found in Him.
Nicely said, Dr. Allchin. We must also remember that between the “Peace of God” in Ph 4:7 and the “God of Peace” in Ph 4:9, is verse 8 that reminds us of the necessity of “thinking right” and in the beginning of verse 9, the importance of “doing right.” Both are necessary if the “PEACE” that we all long for is to be ours this Christmas Holiday. May God grant everyone a wonderful Holiday and Peace from the God of Peace.