Thursday, December 23, 2004
It may well be the favorite song of the Christmas season - a lullaby written to the Christ Child many years ago in a little mountain village in Austria. A village pastor was desperate for some music for his Christmas Eve service since the church organ wasn't working, thanks to a mouse eating through parts of the organ! His composition didn't stay in that village. It spread from the Alps around the world, and you can't have a Christmas season without hearing it - probably multiple times. The signature song of celebrating Christmas - "Silent Night." Every verse ends with those beautiful calming words, "Sleep in heavenly peace." Nice words. Not always the way it is.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Why We Can't Sleep in Heavenly Peace."
While the song is directed to the baby Jesus, the idea of having that "heavenly peace" is something for all of us. Not just to sleep in peace, but to live with peace in our heart. For many folks, that inner peace has been elusive their whole life - maybe something you know all too well. No relationship, no accomplishment, no experience - not even a religion - has given you what your heart so desperately cries out for - lasting personal peace. An anchor inside that holds you steady in the most stressful, most uncertain of times.
The Bible describes the condition of many a human heart this way: "Like the tossing sea which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud" ( Isaiah 57:20). Then God uses these two words to describe any heart without God in it - "No peace." The guilt of our mistakes, the people we've hurt, the things that have hurt us, our fears about the future, our chronic feeling of loneliness, of lostness - they make it hard to live in peace - to sleep in peace.
"Silent Night" is right when it refers to peace as being "heavenly peace." It's only heaven, it's only God that can finally bring peace to the lifelong storm in your heart. One of the classic scriptures of Christmas suggests why we don't have God's peace and how we can. In Isaiah 9:6, our word for today from the Word of God, the Bible says: "Unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." There it is. Jesus came to be our Prince of Peace, but you can't have His peace until He's your Prince.
Jesus is supposed to be governing your life. It's nice to have Jesus as a belief, a religion, or a security blanket. But He's the King of kings and Lord of lords. We've chosen to drive our own life where we want it to go, effectively ignoring the God who made us. So Jesus may be in your church, but He's not in charge. He may be a compartment in your life, but not in control of your life. He may be in your head, but not in your heart. And it's only when you put your trust in Him with all your heart that your sins are forgiven and your relationship with God begins. Because heaven's Prince went all the way to a cross to pay for your sins, to cancel what has kept you from God and from His peace all these years. And what will keep you from Him forever - if you don't belong to Jesus.
You could belong to Jesus before this day is over. You need to reach out to Him and give yourself to Him. And what better time than this season when He came here to die for you? If you're ready to move from a religion to a relationship with Jesus, if you're ready to trade the hell you deserve for the heaven you could never deserve, tell Jesus, "Lord, I'm Yours." Please let me send you my booklet about beginning with Jesus. It's called Yours For Life. You just need to let me know that you want it.
Tonight you can go to sleep forgiven and safe, with the missing part of you no longer missing. You'll belong to Jesus. And you really can sleep in heavenly peace.