Christian Philosophy Lite: Present and coming Prince of Peace
By Raymond Smith
On Dec. 25, we celebrate the coming of the Prince of Peace.
Two thousand years ago in Bethlehem, there was little peace between the Romans and the Jews. Jesus didn't come to bring peace between nations, he came to bring peace and hope to his followers, which includes you and me. In John 16:33, Jesus said, "These things I have spoken unto you, that ye might have peace. In the` world, ye shall have tribulation: But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." The peace Jesus brings is an inner contentment.
The Nobel Peace Prizes, established in 1895 have undoubtedly had some impact. The Peace Corps was established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy, and in the 50 years after, many young people have gone worldwide promoting peace and friendship in developing countries, yet all these national efforts do little to change the heart of man. Petrarch (1304-1374) said that there are five enemies of peace that inhabit us - avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride. Only the words of Jesus can have a lasting effect. If he doesn't give us peace directly, he gives us the incentive to achieve it. Isaiah 26:3 says, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
This peace may not come in a flash. Some children have developed a nervous or fearful attitude early on - some have even been taught to hate and kill. Old habits are hard to break. But, when one gets to know the Master, those problems can be overcome by remembering his teachings, living as a disciple of his, and trying to please him as our heavenly Father.
Today, we hear of violence in the home. The social problems we have in our country, such as divorce, drugs and alcohol, unwanted pregnancies, absent fathers, etc., make raising a family quite precarious. But when a family discovers the peace of Christ, a new reason for living comes and new priorities are set.
The apostle Paul almost always began his letters to the churches with the phrase, "grace and peace be with you." Others did the same, and many ended their letters with the same phrase. I believe in doing so, they were reminding the churches of the value of God's peace. Someone has said, "We often need reminding more than we need new information."
We fail to achieve peace often because we get so involved in worldly affairs. Jesus told his band of followers not to worry: "So do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear ... your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" Matthew 6:31-34. The ultimate peace will come when Jesus sets up his Kingdom and the ills of this world pass away.
May you experience the peace of Christ this Christmas season and throughout the new year.
Raymond F. Smith is president of Strong Families of Victoria.