Jesus came into the world to bring peace between people and God.
Don’t read over that too quickly. Resist the urge to read that and think, “Of course He did. Tell me something I don’t know.” I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and really ponder this beautiful truth.
You and I were in hostility with God—we were enemies (Romans 5:10). That is the kind of peace we are talking about here. An end to that hostility. To move us from being adversaries to family. A change that only God could bring about.
This is what we celebrate this Christmas season. This is what we celebrate every Easter. And this is what we should celebrate every single day as we draw our each and every breath.
Christ bringing peace between us and God is a truth weighty enough to overflow our minds and hearts in of itself. But, as is so often the way of God, this peace is not the only peace Christ brought. When the Bible speaks of peace, it can mean in one or more of three types of peace:
Peace With God
I know we just talked about this, but I wanted to restate it here again and lead off with it. One could argue that this type of peace is more important than the other two. That is not to say the other two are unimportant, mind you, but it is to say that without this peace, the other two do not matter ultimately and they would not even be possible. This is why we have focused on this type of peace in this session.
Peace With one another
The second form of peace is much like the first, only on a horizontal level instead of a vertical one. Christ has not only brought peace between us and God, but also peace with one another. Sure unbelievers can live in relative peace with one another—but it is just that: relative. It isn’t lasting and it surely isn’t to the degree that God designed for us.
The reason why we are relational beings is because we are made in God’s image and He is relational in His nature. We see this in the doctrine of the Trinity. God is One in three Persons. And we know that the Father, Son, and Spirit relate perfectly and beautifully with one another. They enjoy perfect harmony. Perfect unity. Perfect peace.
That is the level of peace God designed for us to enjoy with each other. That is what Adam and Eve enjoyed—at least until Genesis 3 happened. And that is the peace that we will enjoy in the eternal kingdom when sin is no more. But we don’t have to wait until then to begin to experience this peace, at least a degree of it.
As gospel-transformed people, we have the ability to cast aside sinful pride and selfishness and live in peace with one another. We have the ability to forgive. And we have the ability to be bound together by the one thing (or rather person) that matters most—Christ Jesus. No matter what might pull us apart, no matter what might threaten to produce conflict, when we are focused on the gospel and when the gospel is at work in our minds and hearts, we can experience a deep peace with one another that the world cannot fathom.
That takes us to the third type of peace: the internal peace within our hearts. While Jesus provides peace with God and He enables peace with others, He gives us peace within. This is the peace of comfort, of rest, of assurance no matter what we might be experiencing. This is the peace Jesus spoke of in John 16:33.
Again, we have to acknowledge that unbelievers can have internal peace at times. But like peace with one another, they will never have the quality and depth of peace that comes only from Christ. It is this gift of peace that enables believers to endure horribly painful and difficult situations with peace. That is not to say that tears do not flow down their cheeks. But it is to say that even through those tears—and even in those tears—Christ gives us peace that enables us to trust in Him and praise Him no matter what.
Peace with God. Peace with one another. Peace within. All because of a baby born in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.
Preschool Tip: For our concrete-thinking preschoolers, it is likely best to focus on one way—the greatest way—that Christ has brought peace, that with God. This is the peace that is emphasized in the story point and Christ Connection, so consider sticking more closely to it.
Kids Tip: For our kids who are able to think a little more abstractly, consider layering in the peace that Christ provides within and with others as well as the peace He has provided with God. Some of our kids will need to be reminded that God is able to give them peace in their minds and hearts. Some are facing situations were that peace is allusive. The same is true of peace with one another. Some of our kids may be experiencing conflict, or perhaps someone they care about—such as a parent—is. But be sure to connect these two other kinds of peace back to the greatest peace Christ provides—the peace that enables the other two—peace with God.
-From Brian Dembowczyk at TGP website
#JesusJams for today!
CLICK HERE for this weeks story summary
Christ Connection: Jesus was born! This was very good news! Jesus was not like other babies. Jesus is God’s Son. God sent Jesus to earth from heaven. Jesus came into the world to show us what God is like.
If you have a bible at your house, turn to Luke 2. If you don't have one, that's okay! CLICK HERE.
Option 1: Set up a manger scene Gather several child-friendly manger scene figures. Look at today’s Bible story picture poster. Invite preschoolers to compare Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus to the manger scene figures. Lead preschoolers to arrange the figures so they are worshiping Baby Jesus. Offer a few toy farm animals for preschoolers to add to the scene. If possible, consider taking digital photos of children as they arrange the figures. Share images with a child’s family. Always follow your church’s policies regarding taking and sharing photographs of children. Remind kids • Today’s Bible story is about when Jesus was born. We celebrate Christmas to remember Jesus’ birth. God chose a young woman named Mary to be Jesus’ mother. Joseph was her husband. An angel told shepherds to go to Bethlehem to find Jesus, the Messiah, where they worshiped Him.
Option 2: Make sheep ornaments Print the “Sheep Ornament” printable on heavyweight paper. Cut out one sheep for each child. Cut white tissue paper into 1-inch squares. Tear off a sheet of waxed paper for each child. Guide preschoolers to place their ornament on their waxed paper. Slightly thin white glue with water and brush it all over a child’s sheep ornament. Guide a preschooler to cover his sheep with squares of white tissue. Brush on more glue and invite him to add additional layers of white tissue if desired. Punch a hole in the ornament and loop a ribbon through the hole. Lay the ornament on a fresh square of waxed paper to dry and transport home. Remind Kids • The shepherds were in the field watching their sheep when they saw an angel of the Lord and a bright light! The angel told them “Do not be afraid. I have good news for you. Today a Savior has been born.” Jesus is our Savior who rescues us from sin. Sin separates us from God, but Jesus brings peace between God and people.
Option 3: TrueWay kids Christmas packets (truewaykids.com) If you're homeschooling or needing to supplement your virtual learning- check out TrueWay Kids. Here are links to some of their Christmas studies:
The Angle Appears to Mary Jesus is Born
Aaaannd for mom's cooking-lunch pleasure, here's an episode of SuperBook all about the first Christmas!