Tonight was the 4th Sunday of advent. That means that it is the last Sunday we will be together before we celebrate Jesus’ birth. Today is the last Sunday before Christmas. As we lit the candles on our Advent wreath our worship space seemed brighter. There was more light in the room as all of the candles flickered. It was a reminder of how close we are to celebrating the birth of our source of light. Jesus is the light of the world.
We have been using Isaiah 9:6 as an advent theme. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. The government will be on his shoulders. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Child–Son–Counselor–God–Father–Prince! I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be amazed by how complex– how hard to understand Jesus is. How can a baby, a child, be called a father? This verse reminds us of how this baby was born and he was EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY. This verse holds the mystery of Christmas– how a God who has no limits, who has no beginning and no end– became human in Jesus, God the Son. He took on human form. He became one of us. He came to earth and became the weakes. He was a baby. The mighty God who created the world needed to be cared for as a baby. Wow!
Tonight we were looking at Jesus, our Prince of Peace. Our text came from John 16:33 [Jesus said] “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Prince of Peace. Jesus came into this world as a baby so that we may have peace. What does it mean that Jesus is our Prince of Peace?
We took a look at a bell. This time of year we see many bells. We sing songs about bells– we hear bells played in storys. Bells are a happy, joyful sound. In fact this evening we began our worship service with bells.
Bells are rung to announce something– to get people’s attention. Bells helped us to undersstand how Jesus is our Prince of Peace. We looked at bells in the bible. In the old testament God made a law that included bells. He told this law to Moses. He said that the High Priest– who was the priest who would make the sacrifieces– that the high priest had to wear a long robe that had bells all along the hem. The people would have known, by the noise of the bells that the high priest was offering sarifices for their sins. It was important for people to hear the bells ring. Hearing the bells helped them to feel peace– they knew that their sins were being forgiven.
The important message at Christmas is that it is only in Christ that we can have true peace. When we have our sins covered by hiis blood, we are able to have peace with God. Having peace with God through Christ and living a life faithful to Christ will allow us to be at peace with ourselves and others.
The sound of the bell is a reminder to us that Jesus is our High Priest. He offered himself as a sacrifice and help bring us peace. Our sins are forgiven and we can come before God without being scared. Without Jesus in our lives we are enemies with God. Without Jesus we can’t have peace. When we beilieve in Jesus, the baby in the manger who grew up and was crucified, then we can have peace. Jesus brings us peace with God.
The bells are also a reminder for how we as Christians need to respond to Christmas. We have a job to do. We need to remember that a bell is made to ring. We need to have Christ in us– we need to ring– so that others will learn how to have peace.
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, let’s do it joyfully. Let’s ring loud so that the message of salvation is heard. We need to let others know that we have a deep and wonderful peace through a baby who was born to overcome the world!
From everyone at HCM: We pray that you will encounter the Christ of Christmas, our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.