I re-watched “Miss Congeniality” recently. I was arrested by Grace Hart’s early misconception of beauty pageants as a collection of empty-headed beauties who always said they wanted world peace. After all, who doesn’t want world peace? I thought that was what the angels had promised the shepherds in the nativity story in the Bible. I checked it up this morning from Luke 2.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord…” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (verses 10,11,13,14 NIV)
Nothing about World Peace. Jesus Himself said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34)
Yet, the coming of Jesus into the world, did bring peace. Through Him we are able to be reconciled to God, and that is the start of all peace.
At the Fall, community was broken:- Our relationships with God, with each other, with ourselves and with Nature were all shattered.
The consequences are all around us for anyone to see. The news media is full of accounts of xenophobia, violence, hatred and war. Man is at enmity with the natural world, trying to enrich himself at the expense of the earth. Wild animals know that we are the enemy and treat us accordingly. Psychiatric wards teem with people at enmity with themselves and others, suffering the pain this brings.
Jesus came to reverse the Fall, to restore the broken relationships. 2 Corinthians 5:19 says “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”(NIV)
When Christ reigns in our hearts, we can be reconciled to our neighbour because our life is no longer centered on ourselves but directed by Him who committed to us this message of reconciliation.
We can have peace with ourselves. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Phil 4:7)
When Christ comes to reign over all the earth, even Nature will be reconciled. The Lion will lay down with the lamb and little children can play with dangerous snakes.
May the Prince of Peace Himself reign in your hearts this Christmas, spreading His reconciliation work to those you meet, bringing you the peace that we cannot fathom.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Amen.