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FIRST-PERSON: The Christ of Christmas Future

EL CAJON, Calif. (BP) — “Assure me that I yet may change these shadows you have shown me, by an altered life!” Scrooge pled to the Ghost of Christmas Future in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

In it, Scrooge was shown a glimpse of his future and a glimpse of his life through the eyes of others by the Ghost of Christmas Future. Seeing that he was not valued by anyone for any reason, he feared not being able to make things right before the day of his death. For all of the happiness and good cheer going on around Ebenezer Scrooge, his Christmas was dark and disturbed.

Scrooge had created his own misery and loneliness at Christmas. But for many people, through no fault of their own, Christmas is not a time of “peace on earth.” Some have lost a loved one, have marriage or family problems, are in debt, and are lonely….

The Prince of Peace has come to provide what Ebenezer Scrooge had not found: peace in the present and a glorious hope for the future.

The bright side of Christmas

Nobody spoke more plainly about the glory of the coming Messiah than the prophet Isaiah, who described the Savior as “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Prince of Peace? Israel was the national equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge — cowering in the face of invaders, feeling hopeless about the future. And yet Isaiah said, “Your king is coming and He is the Prince of Peace.”

Who in our world today believes that anyone can bring peace? Terrorists commit unspeakable acts of brutality against innocent civilians. Nations continue to develop nuclear proficiency — ostensibly for peaceful purposes, but who can be sure? Yet Isaiah said, “The government will one day be upon the shoulders of the Prince of Peace, and of His government and peace there will be no end.”

Prince of Peace? In the darkest night of our soul, who among us has not wondered if peace is not meant for everyone else but ourselves? We know the Lord, we know our Bibles, we know what God has done in the past, we sing “Silent night, holy night … sleep in heavenly peace” at church. But then Christmas comes and we long to experience the peace we believe in. We want our family to be at peace; we want our world to be at peace; we want our friends and loved ones to be at peace. And we wonder why we have to struggle to find it. Yet Isaiah said, “A Prince of Peace is coming with peace enough for the whole world and for you.”

We have to remember at Christmas, and every day, that there is a difference between personal peace and world peace. Jesus didn’t cast a cloak of peace over the world when He came, and we do not live in a world of peace today. But we will. As surely as Isaiah’s prophecy that Jesus would come, born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), was fulfilled, so will his prophecy of the Prince of Peace be fulfilled. The day is coming when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord” (Isaiah 11:6-9). The days of world peace are coming.

But the day of personal peace is here now! Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives…. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). That is the peace Scrooge had lacked, but it is the peace we can have by faith in Jesus Christ.

If you lack personal peace this Christmas season, you don’t have to do what Scrooge in turning his life toward generosity. Of course, it’s good to be kind and charitable to others, but that is not the path to peace. The path of peace is the path that leads to the Prince of Peace. Just as room had to be made for Jesus in a stable at the first Christmas, so you may have to make room anew — or perhaps for the very first time — in your heart for Him this Christmas. May His peace be your peace this Christmas season — and all the year long.

    About the Author

  • David Jeremiah

    David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.

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