Matthew 1:21, 23b - She will bear a Son, and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins ... "and they shall call His Name Immanuel" (which means, God with us).
In the new year, we tend to talk about hope, don't we? But today in the world in which we live it's good to remind ourselves of the Christmas-Easter message of peace: peace that lasts. And, when we talk about peace, we tend to mean peaceful circumstances, right? We want the peace that comes with bills paid, relationships intact, body/health doing fine, and purposeful work to do. That's the kind of peace that folks are striving for with all that they do -- day in and day out. So, when something interrupts those peaceful circumstances, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of anxiety, anxiousness, fear and discord. And, as you get older, you begin to realize that those circumstances seem to arise out of nowhere, more and more often, with a clear awareness that we don't have the capability to handle all things, at all times.
People often tell me if you have enough money, you can buy all the peace you need. But I remember a very wealthy man who had everything, but still lived in fear. He had to stash his money in several hidden places so that people wouldn't steal it, so that he would have money when his health started to fade. And even before all those fears eventually happened, he was living in the daily fear of potentially losing it all everyday anyway. If you are satisfied with just having a piece of this world's peace, if you are satisfied with this world's best offers, its limited promises -- the only news the Bible has for you is that peace won't last.
That's why Christmas and Easter are so important to you, to me, to all of us. It's the promise of peace we really need. It's an offer of peace that is beyond our control and greater than our circumstances. And that's what our Bible verse is talking about today. It tells us about the peace of God that He brings when He comes into our life and He promises to be with us in all circumstances in this world -- ultimately promising that in Him we will live forever in heaven. It's the peace that comes when you know One that is able, One that is capable, and that One is with you in all things to bring you blessing. That's peace that lasts. That peace comes when you realize that Jesus is "Immanuel," God with us -- God with you.
When you realize in Him, you have enough, then the way you face the issues of the day changes. I tell you too that when you realize that in Him you have everything -- even more than enough -- then life becomes a journey that ends in His abundant joy, eternal life, and a peace that lasts: circumstances included.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, give me courage and wisdom not to settle for the pieces of peace that this world offers because I know they don't last. Let me rather put my faith in You and follow You in all things, with the knowledge that having You in my life -- that's the peace I need! Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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