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Peace on Earth

(Isaiah 11:1-9)

Lesson 4 -- first quarter 1996
December 24, 1995

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1995, Christian Light Publications

So, today is Christmas Eve. What of it? Tomorrow is Christmas. What's it to you? Gifts. Programs. Parties. Get-togethers. Potlucks. Caroling. Full schedules. Shopping. Charity. Social obligations. Stress. Frenzy. Fun. Suspense. Excitement. Lights. Trees. Manger scenes. Why? What for? Then what?

I am concerned that the foreign society in which we reside has affected our celebration of Christmas. I am also inclined to think that we make too much of a day; why can't we spread the spirit of Christ throughout the entire year more? I understand that having special days can serve to jolt our memories with truths we may have forgotten. After all, God instituted commemorative days for the Israelites, lest they forget. I believe Romans 14:5,6 give us one guideline to consider: "One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it." May our relationship with the Lord determine and be revealed by our Christmas celebrations and perspectives!

I wonder how consistent our Christmas this year has been with the Prince of Peace. I fear most of my Christmas seasons have been more consistent with the heathen and apostate about me. Carefully consider these verses, using them to measure every special event of this season:

"He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away" (Luke 1:53).

"And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same" (Luke 6:33).

"When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor [thy] rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind" (Luke 14:12,13).

So much for the spirit, celebration and practices of the season. In fact, so much for the season. What can we learn from the Prince of Peace? After all, if the most His coming accomplishes is a federal holiday, a bunch of activity and hectic gifting . . . what a waste!

Notice some of the terms which describe Him in our lesson text. Wisdom. Understanding. Counsel. Might. Knowledge. The fear of the LORD. Righteousness. Equity. Faithfulness. And these are the things He wants to reproduce in us and manifest through us! This is what Christ is about! The Spirit wants to take our lives and carefully carve us into a living image of the Prince of Peace. Peace: the result of focusing the above qualities on our relationships with God, others and ourselves. Look in particular at your relationship to those with whom you don't "click." If you cannot live in peace with them, take that as an alert to the possibility of underdeveloped peace ingredients in your life. Remember that the greatest significance of the miracle of peace is finding it in the presence of natural adversaries. As a result of the coming of the Prince of Peace, God wants your relationship to these individuals to be seen in verses 6-8. Perhaps you cannot imagine the reality of these verses in nature, but it shall be! May that kind of faith see me through to peace in some of my interpersonal relationships as well.

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