I love the tradition of gathering together with friends and family at Christmas. I love this time of year. I love the food, the fun and I love singing songs of adoration and devotion as we prepare our hearts celebrate this most glorious time of the year. I do love the songs of Christmas. As a kid growing up I did not spend a lot of time in church. What I learned about God, heaven, and Jesus I picked up in Vacation Bible School and I also learned a lot from Christmas songs. I love the truth found in the Christmas carols. For example that verse in “O Come All Ye Faithful” which says:
“Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given; Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing:
O come, let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.”
There are some great foundations of our faith presented in the words of those songs. But even beyond the words of truth present, what spoke to me was the spirit of the songs. I don’t see how anyone can listen to those songs and not experience a sense of reverence, a sense of peace and God’s goodwill. I can tell you that as a child when I heard Silent Night and Away in a Manger my heart was filled with peace. The chaos of life, the problems of this world always seemed to slow down as I listened to those songs. It seemed as if God was telling me that because of the gift of His Son everything was going to be all right. I needed that. I grew up in a home where there were some issues from time to time. It was a place where sometimes it was just best to lay low and I was not always good at laying low. No, my home life was not always characterized by peace.
But as I grew I learned that just like those Christmas songs say, Christ came to offer peace on earth and goodwill to men. Those are gifts that only He can give. He offers peace even in the midst of the most difficult situations. Christ offers peace to us even when we have done wrong; even when we have invited chaos into our own lives. In John chapter 8 there is a woman who has been caught in the act of adultery and Jesus intervenes even in the midst of that situation. He brings peace. He grants her forgiveness and sends her on her way. She is sent on her way not as one condemned, not as one condoned but as one commissioned to receive His grace and to sin no more. She is sent on her way to know the peace and the order that only Christ can bring to one’s life.
Christ offers peace even in the midst of our personal aches and pains. He is the Good Shepherd spoken of by David in Psalm 23. As David says, “He restoreth my soul…Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” The New Testament records for us person after person strengthened and comforted by Christ as He engaged in His earthly ministry. Jesus still reaches out to comfort us and give us peace today. He said in Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
I did not know that verse when I was a kid. I did not know what weary and heavy-laden meant but I knew that there were things that caused me stress and there were some things that made me tired. And I knew from my Christmas songs that Jesus Christ offered peace to me. I knew that in His presence it could be a silent night; it could be a holy night. He had the power to step into my world and make it calm and make it bright. Verse 3 of the song “Away in a Manger” captured the prayer of my heart:
“Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with Thee there.”
Oh my friend, the Christmas songs are right. If you need peace, if you need rest, you need Jesus Christ. We should adore Him. He is Christ the Lord. There is a need of your soul; there is a longing that only He can satisfy. I wish you a Merry Christmas. I wish you the peace, goodwill and forgiveness that only Christ can bring. Until next time, stay strong in the faith.