This is the final Sunday of Advent. And these four weeks leading up to Christmas have been our opportunity to look forward with great expectation to the coming of Christ as we have embarked on a journey of hope, love, joy, and peace.
When I think of peace, I am often reminded of the well-known hymn “It Is Well with My Soul.”
The song portrays such strength and steadfast trust.
Horatio Spafford was a businessman in Chicago in 1873. After already losing one child to pneumonia, he sent his wife and four daughters ahead of him on a ship to Europe. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank, and all four of Spafford’s children died. He got a message from his wife that she had survived, and he left on the next available ship to go and meet her.
During his journey, near the place his daughters had died, Spafford penned the words to the song. The painful circumstances he faced make the lyrics all the more powerful.
The words were not written by someone but by one who found peace—deep, authentic peace—in the midst of heartache.
Yet, when we think of peace, we often think of the absence of hardship, trouble, violence, and fear. As the hymn so beautifully captures, this journey of peace is not immune from those things. In fact, they are central to the story. On this journey we learn that peace is not the absence of trouble but rather the presence of God.
What pain are you facing this season? What struggles are weighing you down? What anxiety and stress are stirring up chaos in your spirit? Maybe those pressures and problems are external; maybe they are internal battles
Ours is a world in desperate need of peace! But it is a world where the Prince of Peace has walked and understood. He has come, and He is present. His peace is available to us today.
Let’s explore that peace together.
1. Peace in the Midst
How do you picture that night Jesus was born?
Mary gave birth in an animal shelter. The city of Bethlehem was overflowing with hordes of people who had arrived after many dusty miles on rough, dangerous roads by foot and by livestock. Visitors started arriving to visit the new baby within hours of His birth.
There was noise and hurt and pain and struggle and fear that first Christmas. And yet there was great joy and deep peace of the highest order.
Sound familiar? Our journey of peace this season is not one separated from the realities of life but a journey of peace in the midst of life with all its noise and chaos.
As we journey toward Christmas, let’s acknowledge the fact that our lives are far from peaceful and the eternal. He brings His calming message to our spirits like soothing water.
Peace. Be still.
Jesus brings peace right into the center of our hurt and frantic striving. And He brings the power to cease the noise, calm the storm, and overwhelm our hearts with His restorative sense of perfect peace.
2. Prince of Peace
The prophet Isaiah’s words reveal something very important about peace: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Peace is not just a feeling or a state of being. Peace is a person. Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
By sending His Son, God sent peace into the world. When we abide with Him, we abide with peace. And as we abide with peace, we learn to trust God with the unpeaceful parts of our lives, and we find ourselves transformed within.
When we can surrender our control—stop worrying, stop planning, stop striving—to the Prince of Peace, we can find rest in Him. The inner and outer chaos, anxiety, noise, and busyness of life may not change, but we can experience peace because we trust the One in control.
Where do you need to surrender and enter the journey of peace this season?
Let me encourage you to encounter the peace of Christ by taking the psalmist’s words to heart: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Such stillness can be a precious commodity in this busy holiday season, but even a short pause can allow us to breathe deeply and connect with Jesus Himself, the source of our peace.
That may mean pausing, even briefly, at the start of your day to read the guiding words of Scripture and to converse with God to align your day. But it may also mean pausing during your workday or in the middle of the shopping mall to breathe deeply and repeat some words from the Bible as a reminder and a realigner.
3. Peace for the World
Jesus came as the Prince of Peace, and we can abide in Him and experience peace in our souls. But we know that peace doesn’t always come to the world around us.
We continue to live in the place of tension between the past, present, and future—that place in a broken world still churning and reeling until God completes His restoration.
Jesus has brought peace to the world with His arrival. He continues to fill us with peace through His Spirit, but it is not until He comes again that our world will experience complete and perfect peace.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding. When we abide in the Prince of Peace and come to Him in prayer in every situation, His peace flows over us to settle and guard our hearts and minds.
So often we come to God asking Him to change our circumstances or those around us. Sometimes He does, but more often, He changes our hearts and perspectives. As we pour out our hearts and connect with Him, to trust more confidently in His ability to handle things no matter what,
That sense of understanding, of calm and acceptance, acts like a guard around our hearts and minds. It’s the gift of peace that Jesus promised when He left the earth.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” He told His disciples. “I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).
Those weren’t just empty words. They were rooted in reality—a deeper reality than the harsh conditions facing Jesus’s followers at the time and the ones He knew would come. From the threats of Herod to His death by crucifixion, Jesus spent His whole life with people out to kill him. He knew there was much suffering in store for His followers.
Yet He told His disciples—and us—not to be afraid. Why? Because He knows the end of the story. He knows that no matter what troubles us and causes us fear now, in the end, His peace will overcome all. It will sustain us through our difficulties, which may be great but are also momentary in the light of eternity.
As we journey toward Christmas, we can trust that promise for ourselves and for our world, and we can experience peace because we know the One we put our trust in. He is faithful and true.
As we end our time together today, let’s pause and soak in Jesus’s words: Peace. Be still.
The Prince of Peace has come, and He is coming again. And in the meantime, He gives us this message: Peace. Be still.