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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”—John 14:26-27 (NIV)
When we think about the scene of Jesus’ birth, “peace” is probably not the first word that comes to mind. In Luke’s account of the story (Luke 2), we read that while Mary was pregnant, she and Joseph traveled about 80 miles on a donkey to Bethlehem because of Caesar’s census. Upon arriving, the couple found there were no rooms available, so Mary had to give birth to the Savior of the world alongside farm animals in a stable. To me, it doesn’t seem as though Mary and Joseph had the most comfortable or easy experience—a screaming baby, the smell of manure, the presence of farm animals, and the darkness of the night doesn’t exactly paint a picture of peace. Rather, it seems as if the devil was trying to shift their eyes off Jesus and onto their overwhelming and chaotic circumstances.
Not surprisingly, his tactics haven’t changed! The devil will use everything in his power to try and distract us from the gift of Jesus, so we must not allow our emotions or circumstances to dictate our perspective. Mary and Joseph most likely felt frustrated and tired, making them even more susceptible to the enemy’s schemes. However, their knowledge of the gift and promise they held helped them persevere.
This is not the only factor that played a role in their receiving Jesus as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Later that night, Mary and Joseph were met by a band of shepherds who wanted to come see and worship the baby—their Messiah. After doing so, they wasted no time in spreading the great news they heard with everyone in the town. Although we can learn much from the shepherds’ example, I want to draw your attention specifically to their impact on Mary. Luke shares in his account that “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19 NIV).
To treasure and ponder something in your heart means more than simply thinking about it. The object of your treasuring and pondering will ultimately become the source of your desire, motivation, and joy. In this case, Mary made the object of her treasure Jesus and, as a result, the peace that only He can supply filled and dwelled in her heart.
Who did the Lord use to bring Mary to this point? The shepherds!
In today’s Scripture, Jesus encourages His disciples by saying that after He returns to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come to remind them of everything He had taught them. In the same way the shepherds were able to remind Mary of the miracle of Christ, which spurred her to accept His gift of peace, Jesus left us with the Holy Spirit to constantly point us back to Himself and help us live in His perfect peace.
There’s no doubt this year has been rough. It seems as though we’ve also been enduring one long, tiresome, unexpected, and difficult journey to Bethlehem. As we near the end; however, it’s important to remember that we don’t need to wait for the gift of Jesus because He has already come!
In this season, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, our Redeemer, our Messiah! Jesus Christ came not only to seek and save the lost but also to give us life and life abundantly (Luke 19:10; John 10:10)! This abundant life does not equate to a perfect, easy life where we get everything we want, always succeed in worldly terms, or never experience suffering. However, it does equate to a life where we’re reconciled to God, now His sons and daughters, living with His eternal and incomprehensible peace.
When the world around us plunges deeper into darkness, chaos, and instability, we can walk confidently and bravely because our foundation has been built upon the love and work of Jesus, our Prince of Peace. This is undeniably the most precious and necessary gift we can all receive and share this Christmas!
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.