For untold millennia, mankind awaited the coming promised one who would bring peace on earth and goodwill toward men. Today this Christmas we celebrate the birth of this Desire of All Nations.
“Where then is the peace, the promised good will upon the earth?” some ask.
True, his Kingdom has not fully flowered into the Spring of full sight upon our planet. Tragedy, sorrows and man’s inhumanity still seem to rage unabated. Yet, any honest and true gaze beyond the veil of pain and tears in this world cannot fail to recognize that few nations and peoples have not been touched – or even transformed – by the love and goodness of God in Jesus Christ.
One day soon, the Messiah will bodily return to burst upon the earth in glory and splendor to complete the establishment of his Kingdom of peace and good will among mankind. Until then, the human race still reels and cries with war, death, disease, famine and broken families in an increasingly dark and disintegrating world.
And our own hearts may ache with unfulfilled longings, silently weep with long buried pain and sorrow or lie tangled in a swamp of fear and darkness. Know that Jesus came for you as well. In the beginning of time and creation, our ancient ancestor, Adam, walked with God upon the earth. Then he and the Woman believed a lie, disobeyed their loving Creator and forfeited their right to govern the planet with their God, and to walk in his presence.
But Isaiah, the prophet, foretold that Messiah would come, and he would be called Immanuel, or God with us. Jesus came as God in the flesh from Heaven, to fulfill that promise and restore our privilege to walk with God and in his presence on the earth. And as the wise men or magi from the East came bearing three gifts for this infant King, so Jesus came to give us the treasure of gifts from Heaven. Three of those great gifts that the King would give us this season – and always – are his love, peace and joy.
As we trudge at times lonely – and possibly alone – through the streets of cities of strangers, and through desert paths barren of love, Jesus says to each of us: “I AM with you always. On all the roads of your life’s journey, I will be a friend that sticks closer than a brother. And I will introduce you to my Father, Papa God, who will love you as I do. We came to adopt you into our forever Family as our precious child; as our beloved son or daughter. I also invite you into a fellowship and family of other such brothers and sisters with whom you will walk in together the roads of life, strengthening and encouraging one another. So know you need never walk lonely or without love. I AM with you always and I love you.”
And in the midst of our troubles and brokenness, Immanuel the King is present to give us his second gift of joy. Painful struggles and disappointments intrude inevitably along our life path. But he would say to us, “As dark forces and pressures arise to break or devour you as a wolf, do not stress or strive. Turn into my presence and I will release a wellspring of joy from within you that will enable you to arise and overcome. As great heat and pressures turn the ordinary lump of coal into a precious diamond, so my joy will alloy you with an inner resiliency that will strengthen you to turn what the enemy would use to destroy you into your transformation as a victor and champion in life.
The third gift the King brings from Heaven for us on the Earth is peace in His presence. Conflict, disease, and poverty so often threaten – and erupt – among the nations. And in our own lives and homes. Jesus let us know these things would come upon the earth, but encourages us to not fear. Luke the physician records Jesus words to us, speaking of “on the earth, distress of nations…men’s hearts failing them from fears and the expectations of those things which are coming upon the earth.” But we need not fear when we have placed our faith in Jesus, our Messiah and Savior for he has not come to condemn or destroy his creation, but to redeem us as we believe. Yet he is beginning to shake all things in the earth that we his children may receive His eternal Kingdom which cannot be shaken as will be the kingdoms of men which have removed God from their foundation.
So in the middle of all the surrounding turmoils, King Jesus says to us, “Peace I leave with you. My peace, I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
Love. Peace. Joy. Gifts the world cannot give – nor can the world take away. And we discover and receive these precious gifts as we receive the greatest treasure: the gift of his presence by faith. As in the beginning of time and creation, man and woman restored to walk in intimacy of relationship and fellowship with our loving Creator: Papa God, Jesus our Messiah, and the Holy Spirit. Paradise restored. And as we cultivate this intimate fellowship dwelling in Immanuel’s touchable and tangible presence, his love, peace and joy abide and grow more and more in our life and heart. And many other gifts including restoration of our purpose and destiny – even to rule and reign with him upon the earth as designed in the beginning. And as we receive these glorious gifts from Papa God and our King, his love empowers us to share them with other fellow travelers we meet who struggle along life’s roads.
Whether or not we received the earthly gifts we desired for Christmas, if we but receive the priceless gifts of the King by faith, we will possess treasure that will see us through the troubles and dangers along our life’s roads, and enable us to safely complete our journey into Heaven’s gates.
Shalom and Feliz Navidad!