This past Christmas Eve we attended services at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, NC. Pastor Dr. Ross preached a heartfelt message from Luke 2:13-14:
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
The birth of Christ is supposed to usher in a peace to all on whom God’s favor rests. Dr. Ross pointed out that few, if any, are experiencing the peace they believe Christ promised. Why? The obvious answer is that the peace from Christ is not necessarily tranquility in our lives or having all we need or want. True peace comes from our trust in Christ and our best efforts to walk in His way despite the pitfalls of life.
Dr. Ross established a personal point in his life when everything changed for him. It was a time he realized tranquility in the world and our personal lives were fragile and could change in an instant. For him that moment was the assassination of our President John F. Kennedy. One’s world view changed from that point on. He referred to it as the end of “the age of innocence.”
As a young boy growing up in a coal mining town I recalled a defining moment when my worldview changed. The home we lived in had no locks on any of the windows or exterior doors. There was no need to be concerned about security. Everyone was at peace with each other. That changed one day when a convict escaped from the police who was transporting the individual to a state prison. The escapee was reportedly in the immediate area where we lived. That day before the sun went down my parents had nailed all the windows shut. In hindsight we were probably more in danger of escaping a fire than an intruding convict.
From that point on I no longer felt at peace. The words of Jesus in John 16:33 tell us: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." We cannot escape trouble. The best we can do is to decide to view our circumstances with a different set of eyes.
As we face the coming year reflect upon those moments in life where your worldview changed by problems, global conflicts and personal trials. Instead of spiraling downward out of fear and anxiety, look upward. When Simeon saw the Christ child being dedicated in the Temple he said, “I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people (Luke 2:30-31).
Use the defining moments of life as a reason to turn your eyes toward Jesus and find true peace.