In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Luke 2:8-20 [NASB]
I decided I wanted to be courageous, and God took me at my word. New and exciting changes are happening in my life—a path I didn’t think was mine until God nudged me toward it. I am quietly learning that courage has so much to do with faith and dependence on God.
Fear comes knocking a lot.
Yesterday my sister-in-law said something that struck me deep in the heart. We were discussing this new story in my life, and she asked me,
“How did you know you had peace about it?”
It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? But it’s not. My sister-in-law wasn’t asking how I knew it was the right decision. She wasn’t asking if I was happy or excited—she wanted more than that. How did you know you had peace about it?
What is peace? Really—what is peace? Is it living your life without conflict? Is it quietness? Is it joy? Is it being undisturbed?
For the past 3 years I haven’t felt peace. I live in a peaceful place, and I am very blessed. I live a quiet life without conflict and yes—I have experienced happiness and joy. But I haven’t found peace. I’ve found comfort. I’ve found complacency. But not peace.
Until this summer.
How did you know you had peace about it?
Because I was motivated. I was filled with such determination. The moment I said Yes—Yes, I’ll do it; Yes, I’ll go—I was ready.
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
We sing songs about the peaceful night of Jesus’ birth—songs of stillness and quiet adoration—but was it? Or was it noisy and full of life?
The angels sang.
The shepherds ran.
Mary gave birth.
This wasn’t a Silent Night. This night was loud and disruptive. This night was bloody. This was a night that changed everything.
In the devotional Live|Dead: Joy, Dick Brogden writes,
We have made Christmas about coming home and being comfortable. Jesus’ approach to Christmas was to leave home and be uncomfortable. Christmas has become safe and cozy, a time to relax and give gifts to one another. At the original Christmas, God left the comfort of heaven to give a most precious gift to those who would largely reject it…
God also calls His sons and daughters to leave home in order to bear His glory into all the earth, into all nations. The call is relentless…
God is most keenly experienced when we leave home and join Him in His passion to be glorified by every people on earth. God is most real to us in the challenges and trials that take place outside of our comfort zones.
[December 26: Leaving Home]
As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Jeremy Camp sing “Overcome.” And I feel that peace, that same peace I felt when I said Yes. “We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.” And I keep thinking about those shepherds outside of Bethlehem who saw the glory of the Lord and were changed. Who left their sheep—their responsibilities, livelihood, their place in this world—to see a Baby. Who went out into the world and told everyone they met about this Baby.
Or the wise men who traveled such distance to find a new king.
And I wonder, what is peace?