Ralphie’s father on the movie The Christmas Story is shipped a wooden crate stamped “fragile”. When it’s delivered he has a shift in attitude from mostly grumpy to the excitement of a little boy on Christmas morning and he deems it his “major award”. Admiring the box in wonder he pronounces the stamped letters “fra-jee-lay” and surmises it “must be Italian” before uncovering the leg lamp that has become synonymous with Christmas.
In The Christmas Story that dates back over two thousand years the multitude of angels proclaim “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!” Luke 2:14. The peace of God was made available to the people on earth when his son was born unto us. Peace sometimes can seem illusive, can’t it? One thing can go wrong and rock our peace and rob us of our security.
What exactly is the peace of God that became accessible through the nativity? Jesus grows up to distinguish that kind of peace. Just before he goes to the cross he says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give fragile peace as the world gives. Do not allow your heart to be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27.
There are two kinds of peace: the peace of God and fragile peace. Jesus said the world offers “fragile peace”, but the angels declared Jesus came to bring God’s peace. They can be distinguished like this. Fragile peace is that peace that is found in a good job, plenty of food, comfort, a happy family, a padded bank account or being well-liked. All of them are nice, but none of them are promised to us tomorrow.
To have peace in the things the world offers is like tromping confidently on a thin sheet of ice. You can tromp with gusto until the fragile layer beneath you cracks and crumbles. Then you are left flailing, gasping and yelling for help. God’s peace is something entirely different and it is not fragile like the antique glass ornament on your tree. You don’t worry about the peace of God shattering into a million pieces like the leg lamp did…it’s shatter proof!
If we look back at Luke 2:14 we notice the last few words say “peace on earth to people he favors”. Who exactly does he favor? Who is his peace possible for? Well, all mankind was favored by the gift of Jesus and the peace of God was made possible for all. But some do not receive the gift and therefore refuse the peace that comes along with the gift. Psalms 103 tells us not to forget the benefits off God; peace is one of the benefits of accepting the gift of Christmas.
You will open a gift or two this season. Some you may love, others, you may return or re-gift, but the choice is yours. The gift of Jesus, when accepted into the heart of man offers peace. Peace that is not determined by “living your best life”. Jesus’ best life was traveling in any condition, being around the sick and sinners, poverty, a family who thought he was crazy and persecution unto death.
He came to teach us how to live and how to have peace. He didn’t demonstrate God’s peace through worldly success and comfy living conditions, he did so by clinging to what is eternal. Christmas is a wonderful, joyful season and it is a season where we should evaluate our own peace that it was meant to bring. Where does your peace rest? Is it fra-jee-lay or shatter proof?