It is Christmas time once again and the sounds of bells combined with the smell of peppermint and pine all fill the air. Words such as joy and peace are mentioned and read on cards and decorations. We sing hymns with phrases such as “joy to the world” and “peace on earth and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled.” The other day I was in the mall and I overheard some people talking about “catching the spirit of Christmas.” Somehow or another they seemed to think that being the mall with hundreds of other people, shopping for others, and having to walk a half-mile in order to enter the mall, helped one to get into the mood of Christmas. I can tell you that when I finished that shopping escapade, the only thing I caught was a migraine!
In reality, Christmas really is a wonderful time of year and in fact, it is my favorite time of year personally. The unfortunate side of things is that Christmas really isn’t full or joy and peace for a lot of people. It is a time of misery for one reason or another. It’s a time of sadness and grief for others. Death and suicide rates rise substantially during the holidays because of the lack of peace and the deep misery faced by so many during what is always said to be, the most wonderful time of the year. I just recently read of a police officer who was gunned down today (Christmas Eve) in Wauwatosa, WI and about two firefighters also being gunned down today in Rochester, NY while responding to fight a house fire. There really is a great deal of misery and unrest in people’s hearts and lives at this time of year.
How is it that a person can experience the peace that is spoken about during the Christmas season? Perhaps I could ask it in a different way…why is it that so many don’t have the peace that is spoken about during the Christmas season? A few years ago, I wrote a similar article about this matter and you can read it here if you would like. Due to some recent events, I wanted to revisit this theme once again and I hope that it will be a help to you.
On that first Christmas night, the Angels appeared to some lowly shepherds who were out in a field outside of Bethlehem. They were doing what they always did which was walking from place to place and keeping watch over their flocks of sheep. This night turned out to be anything but ordinary however! The angles appeared and gave them the message that the Savior had been born. This was a personal message not only for the shepherds, but for all of mankind. This Christ-child was the one who had come to save sinners and it was through him that salvation would come. The message of the angels was also one of praise to God. They sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luk 2:14 ESV) These Angels did what they always did and that was to sing and glorify God. They did so on this night because of the miraculous birth of the Savior. The final portion of the Angels’ message was that it was a message of peace. This translation brings out a much deeper and far greater meaning to what the Angels were saying that first Christmas. You see, peace was not just coming to all of mankind in general. Peace was coming to those whom God had selected to partake in the salvation He was going to provide. The salvation of any soul, including our own, is of God’s own pleasure and choosing and it is this salvation that brings true peace to a person’s heart and life.
This Christmas season, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or is hurting, please reach out to them and help them to understand some basic truths. In reality, there has not been peace on earth since the fall of man in Genesis 3, but through Christ, sinners can find peace with God through faith in Christ. (Rom. 5:1). Salvation was made possible by that Babe in the manger. Christ would make peace at the cross for all who trust and believe in Him (Eph. 2:13-14).
Friend, no one has to struggle with thoughts of suicide or despair at Christmas time. Look to the one who can give you peace which passes all understanding…Christ. I promise you, the peace and joy that He gives will never leave you empty and looking for more.
Merry Christmas to all of you!