Don’t Miss Christmas – The Christmas gift of peace.
A key theme of the Christmas season is peace. Today it’s rare to find people who are truly at peace. Most people are busy… stressed…. tired… and burdened. But rarely do we run into people who are living in peace. Peace is a rare quality but it’s the reason Jesus came. God sent Jesus at Christmas to bring us peace. 700 years before Jesus, Isaiah predicted that the Savior of the world would come and he would be called the Prince of Peace.
Something to talk about:
Peace is not found in the culture or circumstances of our lives. Jesus is the source of real peace. Jesus brings peace to our circumstances. To find true peace:
- I must experience a moment of clarity: A moment of clarity is a life-changing moment that transforms you forever. You are never the same again because all of a sudden you see things as you’ve never seen them before. All of a sudden you see God as He really is, not as you were brought up to believe He was. You see yourself as you really are not like you think you are, not like what your parents told you you were. On the very first Christmas, every one of those people had a moment of clarity. Joseph had a moment of clarity in a dream. The wise men had a moment of clarity in nature. Mary had a moment of clarity when she understood the Word of God that was spoken to her. The shepherds had a moment of clarity when there was a miracle and they go, “Let’s go check this one out!” God knows everything about you; you know almost nothing about God. What you need is a moment of clarity where all of a sudden you go, I get it! I see it! For the first time in my life, I actually see it.
- I must express an attitude of humility: Humility touches the heart of God. Have you ever in a flat-out moment of humility said to God, “God, I just want to admit everything I am and everything I have is because of you? God, I just admit that all I am and all I have – everything really, you hold it all together. Not me. I don’t keep myself together. You keep me together. You give me the air. You give me the sunshine. You created the world. You created my life. Philippians 4 says this: “Don’t worry about anything…” Worry is assuming responsibility God never meant for you to have. And worry is the opposite of peace. He says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” He gives you an alternative. He says you can pray or you can panic. That’s your alternative. Pray or panic. You can worship or you can worry. You can have faith or you can have fear. It’s your choice. God’s not going to force you to pray, to worship, to have faith. So you panic and you have all these things. He says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him.”
- I must expect God to help me: Jesus is the Prince of Peace, He came to give peace on earth, and goodwill to men. He said I’m going to give you the gift of peace not as the world gives but as I give. And He summarizes the gift of peace in a single sentence. If you get this sentence and you do the three things that Jesus Christ says to do, oh man! Your stress level is going to go way, way down. And your peace level is going to go way, way up. The world says escape. When you’re just worn out it says to go to Tahiti. Culture says you need to unwind and rest; go to a movie or exercise, find a hobby or engage in your favorite sport. Those are all good things for physical restoration. But they will not restore your spirit. They don’t restore your soul. That’s a much deeper thing. Going to a movie isn’t going to restore your soul. The antidote to an overloaded soul is not a time management program. They’re good but that’s not going to calm your soul and not going to give you peace. It’s not a time management program. It’s not a philosophy. It’s not a pill. It’s not a plan. It’s a person. Jesus Christ and He will help you.
- Part of Advent is understanding that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Agree or disagree and why? Why do you think peace is talked about so much during the Christmas season but rarely achieved?
- When you think of peace, what picture comes to mind? Where are you? What are you doing? What’s going on around you?
- What are some things we need to do in order to experience the “biblical” version of peace? How can the group encourage you when your life gets hard?
- Why is it so hard to see yourself and God truthfully without a God-given moment of clarity?
- If you’ve experienced that moment of clarity in your life, who can you share that experience with this week?
- What difference does it make to choose humility in small, seemingly insignificant ways as well as in more obvious ways?
- In what areas of your life do you seem overly susceptible to pride? Why do you think that’s the case?
- What are practical ways we can trust God for peace in our lives?
- Share a difficult time in your life when you didn’t feel peaceful. What happened?
- Share a difficult time in your life when Jesus brought peace. How did it happen? What was the difference?
- How can you live each day experiencing God’s peace? What are some practical ways our small group can encourage each other to be at peace?
- What part of the message resonated with you? Any particular applications you took from today’s message?
Take one thing home with you:
Society makes it difficult for us to have peace in life as we live in a hectic and complex world. Everything and everyone is moving so fast. Many times we wonder, is finding peace in the midst of all this even possible? Jesus promised that each one of us can experience true peace. John 14: 27 says “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Without knowing God’s peace in this frenetic, what’s next world, we will continue struggling to gain control, always finding ourselves fighting stress and anxiety within. Yet focusing on God can bring us peace, no matter what swirls around us on any given day. He’s the answer to our place of refuge. He is our safe room for peace. We can never fully escape all the mess this world may bring our way. But in the midst of what life deals us, we can remain steadfast, and strong.
Often, living a peace-filled life comes down to a choice. Choosing to rely on Him, choosing to trust Him no matter what, choosing to pray in all that we face, choosing not to be anxious, choosing to believe that He’s always with us and in control, and choosing to set our thoughts on the peace that only He can give.