Advent Devotion - 12/24/16

I have often made the declaration that I don’t like Christmas music. That is only half true. In reality I love a number of Christmas hymns. My current favorite is “Oh Come, Oh Come, Emmanuel.” Although originally penned over 400 years ago, there is one verse written more recently. It reads:

 O come, desire of nations, bind

In one the hearts of all mankind

Bid Thou our sad divisions cease

And be Thyself our King of Peace

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to thee, O Israel

 As we think back to that original Christmas eve we remember what was happening in Israel.  Israel is being occupied by the Romans. They longed to be free of this occupation. They longed to overthrow the ruling power. The longed to be free. They longed for  a King of Peace.

 And on this night so many years ago a child was born. The Messiah. Emmanuel. God with us. Surely this would give Israel the King of Peace they so much desired! But Jesus didn’t give them freedom from Rome. Jesus didn’t rally the troops and overthrow their rulers. Jesus didn’t become that Earthly King of Peace.

 But he did bring peace. It just wasn’t what they were expecting. Jesus brought peace of the heart. He brought the peace that, “transcends all understanding”. He brought a peace that couldn’t be captured, or conquered, or taken away. His peace would be eternal.

 Today is Christmas Eve and a quick glance at the world will reveal so many things offering us peace. So many things to “free” us from what holds us back. But they are merely shadows of the only true peace that satisfies. Only the peace of Christ will satisfy.

 So today, take a few moments and think of the things that you look to for peace. It might be a leader, a job, a relationship, or an item. Is this peace eternal or will it fade?  I challenge you today to renew your desire for the peace that does not fade away or die. I challenge you to give these things up to God and accept everlasting peace.

 Jon Greenhill