What do you want for Christmas?
The answer comes so easily to many of us—we have our lists of gadgets and gift cards prepared for months. Yet, if recent news and statistics are to be believed, many people would just like some peace.
According to a poll by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), 40 percent of Americans report increased anxiety between 2017 and 2018 . We lived in a state of constant rush and busyness, and few of us can claim to live with an abiding sense of peace. Thankfully, Christmas serves as a good reminder. What the angels told the shepherds when they announced the birth of the Savior is true for us today, as well
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” —Luke 2:13-14 (emphasis added)
What relevance does this glory and peace have for us during this time of high anxiety? Here are two things to keep in mind this advent season:
1. Christmas Is Ultimately About God’s Glory
The heavenly host first proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest!” That’s important because it reminds us Christmas is not primarily about the happy exchange of gifts. It’s about glorifying God. It is his plan to redeem and rescue sinners that brought about the arrival of Christ. We couldn’t have thought up such a plan. When we think about the Son of God taking on flesh, living among us, and dying in our place, it should inspire awe and worship. It should remind us that we couldn’t do all of these things ourselves. It should glorify him. This leads us into the second point…
2. Christmas Leads to Peace For You and Me
How does this bring us peace? It takes the pressure off of us. We don’t have to make Christmas perfect for everyone. It’s okay if we’re missing loved ones or feeling lonely. Christmas is ultimately not about those things. We can take the energy we’d normally put into the “hustle and bustle” of Christmas and focus instead on whether or not we are glorifying God in how we respond to the pressures of the busy Christmas season.
Christ’s advent also means peace for those of us “with whom he is pleased.” We know that the only way for God to be pleased with us is through the Savior, Jesus. He came to earth as a baby, but he grew up and lived a perfect life that we could never live. His sacrifice makes it possible for us to have peace with God when we were his enemies.
In the Gospel of John, we see that Jesus knew his people would struggle with anxiety and fear.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).
How We Can Find Peace at Christmas
Troubles don’t often ease up at Christmas; we face worries and fears year-round. But Jesus’s promise is that no matter what we face, we can find peace in him. The problem is that we often try to find peace outside of Jesus—in our reputation, our success, our relationships, our bank accounts, our Instagram likes…the list goes on and on.
What a blessing it is to know that true peace can be found, as long as we look for it in Christ. May the Lord empower us all to turn to our Savior for the peace only he can give.