Christ Came To Bring Peace
Feast of the Nativity
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
December 25, 2021
Readings: Isaiah 9:2-7
Luke 2: 1-14
Have we ever stopped to wonder what Christ would think when He sees how we are celebrating Christmas today? Christ came to bring peace and change our lives. But are we at peace? Or are we restless during the Christmas season – being in the traffic, lining up at long queues when we frantically shop for Christmas gifts, engaging in all the preparations for Christmas parties. Man has taken other things as priorities. Would Jesus be pleased when He sees all the stress and restlessness when we are supposed to be at peace? Do we see our God in glory and strength? Do we see Him as the all-powerful, the Almighty One? It’s unfortunate that the world presents an alternative, and man has fallen for this alternative. Isaiah prophesied that out of Jerusalem will come a remnant and out of Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of God will accomplish this.
Man has a choice. God gave us free will and He will respect our choices. He honors the free will of man because He was the one who gave it. When God created man, He gave man the ability to choose. Titus 2:12 “It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in the present age.” For instance, when sickness comes, do we readily accept it? Or should we trust in God who has made us whole. Do we really see Him in glory and strength? Isaiah 9:2 “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” The promise was given to Israel that a Messiah would come.
During the time of Caesar Augustus, he made a decree that the people should return to their hometowns to register for the census. Joseph was in Nazareth but had to leave for Bethlehem because of the decree. The prophet Micah had foretold that the Messiah would be born in the tiny village of Bethlehem. The birth of Jesus was a big event, and yet, the religious leaders were not around. God sent an angel instead to announce the news to Shepherds, who were considered “outcasts” of society, making the proclamation that they would find a baby born in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a feeding trough. Then there was a multitude of angels glorifying and praising God. The shepherds left the sheep to go to Bethlehem to worship the new-born Babe.
Christ came to bring a new life to us. What are we doing with the new life he gave us? Have we truly received it? Or do we, as soon as Christmas is over, go back to our old ways? Are we ready to accept the new life or are we more concerned with what is happening around us? God’s peace is eternal. Christ came to restore us back into what we were intended to be in creation. The birth of Christ was an unprecedented event. Never before in history has it ever happened and never will it ever happen again. The reason for the season should be, Christ in us, the hope of glory. The assurance and the confidence that we have the hope of knowing who God is should resonate in our lives. Christmas is supposed to bring peace and joy to us. Not anxieties and stress. There is no problem in life greater than God. Nothing is too big for Him. We celebrate Christmas because it is God’s love manifested to us. God is greater and more powerful than any force. When we say, “Merry Christmas,” we have to mean it. It is our task to manifest God’s love to others.