By Meghan Schofield
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will!” (Luke 2:14) As we behold the Child in the manger, and hear the song of the angels, the announcement of peace can sometimes feel distant from our own lives. A lovely and wondrous Christmas scene, yet somehow far away from the chaos of miltary, political and personal battles we face. But there is an invitation in the manger. An invitation to see the Good News of a victory already won for us, of a peace already given to us. Because of Christ, we lay hold of the promise he made, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you” (John 14:27). For Christians, this means that peace is ours now; we can receive it now, and it doesn’t depend on our external circumstances. In the home of my soul, where the Lord God dwells, peace is mine, and “though war be waged upon me, even then do I trust” (Ps. 27:3). The manger scene and God’s angels are not a far distant fable, but the reality Christ gives me today – no matter my circumstances. In the manger of my heart, there is God, and where there is God there is peace.
The beautiful thing about the peace of Christ within us is that it cannot be contained. When we dispose ourselves to receive it from the Lord, it goes beyond us like a stream of living water. It travels in our families, in our communities, our countries, and the world. Though Christ has won the victory over evil, we are living in the tension of that victory not yet being totally fulfilled on earth. We eagerly await his coming in glory, when at last even our external circumstances will bow to our King. “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6) Until that day, it is our daily and faithful “yes” to Christ that moves the world closer to him and places us under his banner. Let us look at the Child in the manger this Christmas. Let our hearts leap for joy for the peace that is already ours! And let us remain vigilant, watching for his coming, letting the peace he gives flow out to all the dry places in our lives and our world. Let us pray with St. John of the Cross, “O Blessed Jesus, grant me stillness of soul in Thee. Let Thy mighty calmness reign in me. Rule me, O Thou King of gentleness, King of peace.” Amen.