Finding Comfort and Peace in the
by Pastor Jackson | December 22, 2017In the midst of unsettling times in America, Christmas is upon us! This year has exposed many ugly, vile, hypocritical, and sad realities of our politics and our culture. In a sermon delivered to the Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1967 entitled, “A Christmas Sermon on Peace,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race. We have neither peace within nor peace without. Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them by night.” Although Dr. King shared those piercing words fifty years ago, they unfortunately remain strikingly true fifty years later.
Nevertheless, in the midst of the many strange serendipities of this year, we can find comfort and peace in the “Christ” of Christmas. Isaiah declared: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6, NIV).
In all of Scripture there is perhaps no prophecy more liberating, transforming, and exhilarating than this one. In the midst of many dreadful prophecies, Isaiah proclaimed a jewel of hope to the people of God. God was sending a king who would deliver His people out of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional bondage. As a result, God’s people would experience the peace of God which surpasses understanding.
However, God’s comfort and peace for His children was connected to a child – the Christ child. The passive verbs at the beginning of that passage indicate that the Christ child born into the world would be a special gift from God uniquely equipped to bring peace into the world. With the phrases “a child is born” and “a son is given,” Isaiah utilized Hebraic expressions to illustrate both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ. No wonder Jesus was called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”
Jesus is “Wonderful” in that He is the “God-man.” He is both God and man. His acts are marvelous, miraculous, and incomprehensible. As “Counselor,” Jesus is intimately acquainted with the wisdom of God that becomes available to the people of God through Him. Consequently, He is uniquely qualified to become our “Top Adviser.” Jesus is described as “Mighty God” in that He is endowed with the power to save, protect, transform, and liberate. He is our “Mighty Warrior.” As the “Everlasting Father,” Jesus is one with God in a kingdom that will never end, and that kingdom will include His followers. Because Jesus is the “Prince of Peace,” He brings calmness, wholeness, and serenity into our lives amidst confusion, brokenness, strife, anxiety, and darkness.
Aren’t you glad that you can experience hope, joy, peace, comfort, and light even in the midst of a dark world? Isaiah declared: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2, NIV). Our hope, joy, peace, and comfort result from the notion that “light” broke into “darkness” on our behalf. There is no doubt that this world is full of darkness. The darkness of materialism, greed, hatred, xenophobia, racism, sexism, classism, and many other “isms” permeate our world. Unfortunately, division and separation seem to be the order of the day. However, Jesus came to break into that darkness with the light of salvation, transformation, liberation, reconciliation, and restoration. John declared: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14, NIV).
During this Christmas season, let the light of Jesus Christ shine strongly through you and the peace of Jesus Christ indwell you. Perhaps, you are struggling with the darkness of sin, the darkness of an uncertain future, the darkness of the loss of a loved one, the darkness of an unfavorable diagnosis, or the darkness of fear and anxiety. Whatever the darkness might look like, you can find peace in the fact that Jesus can break through the darkness of your world.
Years ago, there was a song written by Ronnie Hinson that stated: “There’s a lighthouse on the hillside that overlooks life’s sea. When I’m tossed it sends out a light that I might see. And the light that shines in darkness now will safely lead me home. If it wasn’t for the lighthouse, my ship would sail no more.”
Throughout this Christmas season and the coming new year, remember that Jesus is our lighthouse. He is the light of the world! No matter where you are in life, God’s light can shine strongly in you, around you, and through you! Thank God for giving us Jesus who is our comfort and our peace! Merry Christmas! And Happy New Year!