Jesus came to bring peace
Forty years ago this month, just days before Christmas, my father had a horrible car wreck caused by black ice. He nearly died in that wreck, and by all accounts should have; but God clearly wasn’t done with him yet.
On his way to work at 5:30 am, his car hit the invisible ice at the bottom of a hill as he headed into a curve. Traveling 50 mph, his car, out of his control, careened over the steep embankment and slammed top first into a huge oak tree. The top of the car was smashed on the passenger side, missing him by inches. He could have been crushed, but he still did not fair well, sustaining serious injuries that left him in intensive care for days. He would take months to recover.
My little brother and I spent that Christmas (1980) at my aunt and uncles' home. I was 12 and he was 11. It was a really sad Christmas for us; I missed my mom and dad desperately. I missed the Christmas mornings I had grown up celebrating with my family in our living room. I remember being horribly lonely and afraid over that week.
But I also knew something in my heart; I was not alone. God was with me. I knew what Christmas was all about. Not only had I spent years in Sunday School, I had watched the Peanuts Christmas Special many times. I know God was with me during that dark Christmas. And I had experienced a Christmas miracle… my dad was alive!
Last week, my oldest son Logan became very ill and was hospitalized. We didn’t know what was wrong with him (no, it wasn’t COVID). It was a long, scary week for our family. There were times when I felt remarkably helpless; I wondered if he was going to be ok. I wondered what would happen if he wasn’t. When I was desperate, sad and afraid, I prayed. I prayed without ceasing. And when I did, I experienced remarkable peace. I knew God was with me, just like he had been 40 years earlier, and many more times since.
I hoped that Logan would recover soon and that my family would be together to celebrate Christmas. I needed another Christmas miracle.
On Saturday, after a week of excruciating uncertainty, Logan began to take a positive turn. By Sunday, he was doing even better. And by Monday, he was nearly himself again; we received word that he would be able to come home on Tuesday! Our family would be able to celebrate Christmas together.
The truth is that life is filled with ups and downs. As Pastor Andy Lackey said on Sunday in his message at Watermark, yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery, all we have is today, so make the most of it! Celebrate the moments you have with those you love. Celebrate the great gift God has given us in a Savior, Jesus Christ, who brings us peace!
Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. Do you know what that means? You and I are not in this alone. He is with us in the ups and the downs of life. He wants to bring us peace when we are in turmoil and pain. 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Maybe you are hurting this Christmas; maybe you are afraid, or anxious, or heartbroken, or lonely. Please know, you are not alone; God is with you. Jesus came to bring you peace.
As the heavenly hosts proclaimed: 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14. Isaiah called Him the “Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus came to bring us a vertical peace with God, a horizontal peace with others and an inward peace deep inside our heart of hearts. The only way to experience that peace is in and through Jesus Christ. Have you invited Him to be Savior and Lord of your life? If not, do that today! If you have, celebrate the peace you have in Him; He is Immanuel, God with us. If you are struggling this Christmas, ask Him to draw near to you… He will. You are never alone.
I am so thankful that God was with me 40 years ago when I was lonely and frightened… I am so thankful that He was with me over the past several days when I was anxious and afraid. I am thankful that God will be with me every day of my life, offering me the peace I desperately need to navigate life’s ups and downs.
Click here to listen to Andy Lackey’s incredible Christmas message - The Gift Worth Waiting For - Part 4 - Celebrate it!