Dean's List: Jesus Is Your Peace
By Aaron T. Fenker
Where do you try to find some peace? We can find peace in all sorts of places. Some places are good. Some are bad. Outdoors. In a good book. At home with family. Out with friends. A quiet moment alone. The dark recesses of the internet. Brooding over our past and pain.
Where do you try to find some peace? Maybe the holidays will help with that. Maybe they won’t. They’re supposed to. Happy times. Great gifts. Special moments and memories. And maybe there’s some of that, but it could also be sad memories--just fancy wrapping paper over a bag of coal or a box of nothing.
Wherever we try to find peace, it eventually runs out. There obviously isn’t enough peace to go around. Often our lives are proof of that, and the 24-hour news cycle shows it’s not just us, it’s all over the world, too. Nations, politicians, families at odds, all in time for the holidays. There’s always something you can’t bring up in the company of others, isn’t there? There’s always some hidden pain or shame, covered up by you, or at least by those around you.
And besides, we’re good at covering up what pains us the most. Our doubts. Our worries. Our fears. Our shame. Our sin. All our searching for peace is just a Bandaid when, truth be told, major surgery is needed. In fact, all those things we’re trying to find peace from are just symptoms. So is the fact that we’re always in search of something that will give us some measure of peace or a little holiday cheer--something to help us, forget, at least for a little while. . .
The truth is you don’t find peace. I mean, in a worldly way, you might be able to. The world is full of people who seem to find peace in all sorts of things, pleasures, or ways. Worldly peace is just temporary quiet for the body and mind. Worldly peace is only accomplished through force. Personal force of will. National force of military might. But one person’s peace is another’s oppression. And what once gave peace no longer does. The fact that we’re always working so hard at finding peace is proof positive that we can’t and don’t.
No, you don’t find peace. No one does. Not true peace, that is. The truth is the Christmas season’s Good News isn’t peace on earth that we have to make happen. The truth is Peace finds you because Peace is a Person. Peace is born in Bethlehem. JESUS IS YOUR PEACE. That’s the promise He made through His prophet Micah. “He shall be their peace” (Micah 5:5).
JESUS IS YOUR PEACE. That’s why the angels sing what they sing, and why we join in singing with them every Lord’s Day “Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). There’s peace on earth because Jesus is born and on earth. God’s good will, His pleasure, mercy, love, and forgiveness are toward men because His Son is born a man of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus is Peace on earth, in Bethlehem Ephrathah. He is good will toward men, toward the Levitical shepherds, keeping watch over the sacrificial lambs. But not just Bethlehem, not just shepherds. This is good news of great joy that shall be for all the people. Because today a Savior was born for you in Bethlehem. He is Christ, the LORD. Savior. Lamb. Peace. Good will. Manger. Cross. Empty tomb. For you. JESUS IS YOUR PEACE.
This isn’t some fluffy idea. He gives peace because He is Peace. He makes Peace with God because He is Peace by swapping out His manger for a Cross. He’s Mary’s little Lamb, who was born Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Matthew 2:2).
He is your Peace because He gives Himself to you, and He gives you to His Father. This isn’t just an idea; He unites Himself to you and you to Him. You are baptized into Him. You are one with Peace, one with the Son, and now you are an heir, having the hope of eternal life. He is Peace in the darkness of a sheep stall. He’s Peace in your life because He doesn’t leave you nor forsake you.
JESUS IS YOUR PEACE because He delivers Himself, and His Body and Blood to you. He takes up flesh and blood so that you might partake of those same things, so that He would forgive you all your sins, and that He might dwell with you and within you and you in Him, and raise you up on the Last Day. You are united with Peace, with Jesus--not a mere idea. This is true as you eat and drink His Body and Blood. He is yours, and you are His. Grafted together, one Body, one Blood with Him.
Christmas may come once a year, and the world may peddle its empty ideas of peace, unity, good will, and love. But you don’t have to find peace. Peace has you, not just at this time of the year, but every day of the year! JESUS Himself IS YOUR PEACE. A Peace that was born, a Peace that was crucified and raised, a Peace that finds you, eternally unites Himself with you in Baptism, a Peace that bodies and bloods Himself to you, not just at Bethlehem, but all the more when you and drink of His Body and Blood that were given and shed for you for the forgiveness of your sins. He’s with you, and you’re with Him. United. Peace. Now and forever.
As the dean of theology, Rev. Aaron Fenker oversees all the ways that Christ crucified is delivered throughout all operations and programs of Higher Things, making sure that its teaching, preaching, and worship deliver Christ and His forgiveness to those we have been blessed to serve. As a Lutheran pastor, he believes that all people, even youth and young adults, need not just pure doctrine but the pure Gospel: Christ crucified for the forgiveness of their sins. He passionately strives to make sure that Jesus’ teaching, Jesus’ preaching, Jesus’ Word, Jesus’ Sacraments, Jesus’ forgiveness are all delivered FOR YOU.
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