Scripture: Ephesians 2:13-19
Hymn: It Came upon the Midnight Clear
When Jesus was born, the angels who appeared to the shepherds sang “Glory to God in the highest! And on earth peace.” Early Christians used a picture of a dove to symbolize peace because of the story of Noah. When God judged the whole world, sending a flood, only Noah and his family were saved on the ark. After the rain ended Noah sent a dove to look for dry land. When the dove returned carrying a little branch, Noah knew the water was drying up. Soon they could live on the earth again. God’s judgment had passed and peace had come. In the same way, Jesus’ coming brought an end to God’s judgment. By coming to the world to live and die and rise again as a man like us, Jesus brought us peace. He brought us peace with God. Jesus died on the cross and all our sins were laid on Him. He paid for our sins and satisfied God’s justice. Now there is no more judgment for us when God looks at our sin. Instead, there is peace. Now we are not separated from God by our sin. Since we belong to Jesus, God loves us as a Father. He welcomes us to be His children. Jesus also brought us peace with each other, since we are given peace with God through the cross. We are all sinners, and since we have been forgiven so much by God, we must show mercy to each other, forgiving each other just as God has forgiven us. But even though God has given us peace in Jesus, the world is still full of fighting and sadness. We hope for the day when God’s kingdom will come on earth and bring us perfect peace.
Heavenly Father, thank you for reconciling us to Yourself and to each other through Jesus. Thank you for calling us Your children, and welcoming us to call you Father. Please teach us to live at peace with everyone, forgiving one another and loving one another as You have loved us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.