Do you know what this gift is? Maybe the assumption here is that the gift we’re talking about is birth of Christ. His birth is the sole focus of this glorious celebration we call Christmas, after all. But there is another gift. Jesus spoke of this gift when He was preparing His disciples for His ascension about thirty-three years after His birth.
He said to them: “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you. I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:26-27 NLT)
Jesus gives us the gift of peace of mind and heart. It is unlike any gift we can give one another. No matter how vast our resources or how wide our influence, we cannot give one another, nor ourselves, the kind of peace that our hearts and minds so desperately crave these days. In this contentious climate, or just in the chaos of our own lives, we strive for peace but find it to be out of reach.
I’ve wasted great energy and precious time trying to attain peace by creating better circumstances. Perhaps it’s fair to say we all, to some degree, believe that changing our circumstances or solving our problems will lead to greater peace.
We might think, “If only I could force a painful situation to resolve itself, if only I could help a child make different choices, if only I could achieve that thing I’ve been working to accomplish, if only my loved one would experience restored health, if only I could stop feeling like a failure, then I would finally have peace.”
But it seems Jesus is teaching something different. Peace isn’t something we can create in our lives through different circumstances. Peace is a gift, freely given to us, in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Christ gives us peace of mind and heart that is outside circumstance.
When you believe in the finished work of Christ—His life, death, resurrection, and ascension—on your behalf, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your spirit. The Spirit’s indwelling presence unites you to the Son, so that in Him, you receive the life and love of the Father. You are home to the Holy Spirit. He lives in your inner being and works on your behalf, manifesting His peace in your pain, anxiety, and fear.
The Holy Spirit, our supernatural Helper, comforts us, fills us with hope and joy, gives us life and
peace, strengthens us in our inner being, guides us on the path of life, communicates with us, prays for us, leads us in truth, empowers us to fight sin, illuminates Scripture, and advocates for us. He opens our hearts to the love of Jesus, makes us more like Jesus, and gives us supernatural gifts to build up the church and glorify God.
This passage in John 14 is probably Jesus’ most significant teaching on the Trinity. Jesus promised the power of the Holy Spirit to His disciples—power that would literally change everything for them. See, Jesus knew His death was imminent, so He began preparing His disciples for the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. He assured them that the same presence, power, and peace that was with Him would soon be given to them. And us!
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, promises His peace to us, in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the power and presence of Christ. He shares the same essence as Jesus, and yet He is His own divine Person who serves a very distinct (and vital!) purpose in a believer’s life. The Holy Spirit carries on what Jesus began through His birth.
But here’s the thing. Though the Holy Spirit is a gift freely given to all who believe, not everyone enjoys the gift. Not everyone opens the package under the tree, so to speak.
So we live fearful. We live anxious. We maybe even live resentful, agitated, or angry. I’ve done this. I can still do this. None of us are immune to forgoing the glorious benefits of Christ’s birth because we are conditioned to try and live this life in our own power and strength. But God is faithful, by His grace, to woo us back to dependency on His Spirit so we may truly experience His peace.
My prayer for us this Christmas is that the peace of Christ would rule in our hearts (Col 3:15) through the power of the Holy Spirit. That whatever is ruling our hearts – be it disappointment, resentment, heartbreak, or unthankfulness – would be overwhelmed with the gift Jesus gives- His perfect peace in our imperfect and painful circumstances, and in a hurting and chaotic world.
On this Christmas, may we rest in the assurance that we enter into 2022 with the gift of peace freely given to us, actually living inside us, waiting to be activated and enjoyed. Because if you have put your faith in Jesus, then at this very moment, the Holy Spirit lives inside you. He is eager to awaken you to His transforming power inside you and welcome you into the peace that passes all human understanding because it is the supernatural peace of Christ.