Most of us at some point have heard about the Pageant contestant who was asked, “What is the one most important thing our society needs?” She replied, “That would be harsher punishment for parole violators.” Then, noticing that the audience was silent, she added, “And world peace!” Yes, the idea of world peace is so easily that it has become a joke in the mouths of many. But is the trivialization of “peace” good for us?

On the night of Christ’s Birth the angels sang about Peace on Earth, but no matter how hard we work at trying to achieve peace, the world is still very much in a state of unrest, even chaos. It is estimated that 60 countries are engaged in wars today involving more than 368 militias, guerrillas, and separatist groups. The irony that it is an organization called the UNITED Nations that often tries to resolve these conflicts cannot be escaped.

What I discovered, as I studied for the sermon I will be preaching this Sunday, is that the best definition of peace is “the end of all feelings of alienation.” Peoples’ hearts are in constant turmoil because they are unhappy with themselves. When you look inside your soul and you don’t like what you see, you will have trouble making peace with yourself and with others.

The Bible talks about an event that ended all alienation once and for all. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (Colossians 2:14).

Paul is here talking about two radically different groups of people — Jews and Gentiles — who were not exactly best friends (“barrier” and “wall of hostility” don’t exactly evoke the picture of neighbors bring Christmas cookies to welcome you into their neighborhood). But the wonderful news is that through Christ’s death and resurrection (“in His body,” “through the cross”), Jesus DESTROYED the wall of hostility. Notice, He didn’t simply breached the wall or even knocked it down — He DESTROYED IT. In other words, through His power, anyone can overcome the sense of alienation sometimes plagues us. We we are no longer aliens or foreigners in relation to God or to our fellow men. You can still be at war but not because you lack the tools to defeat this enemy.

And that is the reason Christmas is so important because we celebrate the Prince of Peace. “HE is our peace,” the Bible says. In other words, peace is not a treaty, nor even a state of mind. Real, transforming peace is having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through which He has erased all feelings of alienation that impeded our progress. Now we can be all that God meant for us to be.

I hope you will join us this Sunday at Grace as we celebrate the Birth of the Prince of Peace!

Merry Christmas everyone,

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade