We long for a day when all things will come together in God’s great perfection. But until then, we live as people of faith with both feet clearly in the reality of now, but with hearts and minds that are pointed sufficiently forward to have them filled with Christ’s light – his hope, his peace, his joy and his love.
Leigh Bishop is a military psychiatrist who was stationed in Afghanistan. On Christmas Eve 2008 he witnessed the loading of a flag-draped steel casket into a waiting military aircraft and his heart sank knowing that somewhere a family was going to suffer a Christmas homecoming no one wanted. Later that night, back at the barracks, all was different as cheerful groups of men and women were getting ready for a Christmas concert and a late-night service. Candles were lit, and carols were sung with gusto, and in writing about it later, Bishop said this:
Jesus did not come just to provide an occasion to sing carols, drink toasts, feast and exchange gifts. But we are right to do these things, even as soldiers die and families grieve, because he came. And in his coming, he brought joy and peace – joy that overcomes our sorrows, and the only kind of peace that ultimately matters. It’s the peace of which the end of all wars, terrible as they are, is merely one token. It’s the peace that means the long war between the heart and its Maker is over. It’s a peace treaty offered in Bethlehem and signed, in blood, on Calvary. So joy to the world, and to every celebrating or grieving or hurting soul in it. The Lord has come. Let heaven and nature – and even those who stand and watch with lighted candles in the land of the shadow of death – sing.
Question: What difference does simply knowing that Jesus came, make? Do you know that the peace treaty, signed in his blood, is for you too?