The Day After Christmas

Photo Credit: Val 202 via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Val 202 via Compfight cc

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men! [1]

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games began on February 7th and they ended on February 23rd. By the end of the month Russia, the host of the Olympic games, had invaded Ukraine. The Olympics have become widely seen as a picture of peace on earth. Instead of wars, countries send their best athletes to compete in friendly athletic events. In a strange turn of events, Russia went from hosting the Olympic games as a symbol of peace and good will to invading another country in a show of force.

I’ve been writing about how Advent teaches us to wait on the coming of Jesus. When Jesus came to the world he brought the hope of reconciliation, restoration, and redemption. Jesus came to bring peace on earth and Christmas has come to be seen as a holiday of peace. What happens, though, on the day after Christmas?

For most of us we go back to whatever it is we were doing. The day after Christmas means going back to work, returning to life as we know it, and reentering the broken world that Jesus came to save. Christmas gives us a break, gives us hope that maybe we don’t have to return to the broken world. Maybe the peace will stick this time, but it isn’t long before the reality of this world sets in.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. The world is still broken. Times of peace are followed by war. The goodwill exhibited at Christmas or at the Olympics is all too often quickly replaced by greed, hatred, and the desire for power. Jesus, however, brings real peace. He frees us from sin and death so that we can be peacemakers. We are given grace and mercy to spread the grace of God. Christmas day has come and gone but the work of Jesus continues. The work of his church continues. The world will try to make peace, but only the Kingdom of Jesus will bring real peace.

Here is my challenge for you today:
Be a peacemaker. The world needs a taste of real peace and that peace is Jesus. When you bring Jesus to your community, you will make peace. Real peace.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 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. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” [2]

[1] From I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
[2] The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Co. 5:17-20a.

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