For the past several years, I have had the privilege of singing a song called “All Is Well” at my church’s annual Christmas program. The song communicates the message that God Himself had come and brought peace to the Earth.
Our annual Christmas program will be quite different this year due to the pandemic. We have taken precautionary steps that have limited many of our activities and our church operates much differently than it did a year ago. This is just one facet of life that has been altered in 2020. So many of us can personally relate to the stark changes that have shaken our country within the past 10 months. Mask wearing, social distancing, job losses or transitions, and even the virus itself have affected many of us.
However, Covid-19 has not been the only culprit of change. Social, racial, and political unrest have rocked our nation. Even now, the fate of our country hangs in the balance, and we pray for a miracle while yet recognizing the potential for a troubled future. With a tumultuous year behind us and an uncertain year before us, the temptation can be to feel that the peace on Earth that was felt so long ago in Bethlehem is not relevant to us today.
Can we truly say that all is well in 2020?
To a certain extent, we can legitimately argue that all is not well. We live in a nation that has turned its back on God and is plunging deeper into evil. The population of Christians in America seems to be declining, and statistics indicate that a significant percentage of professing Christians do not even hold to a Biblical worldview.1,2 Furthermore, the decrease of Christianity in our country has been coupled with a trend of harassment of Christian beliefs and values—a trend that seems likely to continue. Being a Christian young person in America today is much less likely to carry with it the idea of a relatively comfortable life with values parallel to those of the culture. Rather, the following years may require a commitment to Christ in the face of significant sacrifice and loss. Can we still say that all is well with us, even if it feels like we are on the losing side of a cultural battle?
My mind was musing somewhat along these lines last month. I’ll confess that, as the Thanksgiving holiday approached, it was a bit of a struggle for me to feel thankful. In addition to the inconveniences and losses from Covid-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the recent elections, my Grandma had passed away a few weeks before. Generally speaking, I felt rather dull.
Thanksgiving morning, I was reflecting on why I should still give thanks when I finally had a “light bulb” moment. It’s Jesus—He truly is and always will be the only reason we ever need to give thanks. It is because He entered into the world as a man—and His death, burial, and resurrection—that I have forgiveness of my sins and guaranteed eternal life with the One who loves me best. Even if I were to lose all of the comforts and blessings that I currently have, I can still rejoice in the truth that Jesus has paid for all my sin and that He is truly all I need to be satisfied. While I can and should thank the Lord for all the material blessings that He has given me, I have no reason to be angry at God if He were to take those blessings away (Job 2:9). Likewise, while I treasure the values and freedoms of my country—and would grieve greatly at the loss of such freedoms—I can still rest in the truth that God will still take care of me and that ultimately the Prince of Peace will rule the world with true peace and justice (Heb. 11:16; Is. 9:6-7; Rev. 11:15).
Yes, ultimately, for me all is well. Regardless of the turbulence of our current world, Jesus’ residence in our lives is the source of our peace and assurance, just as His physical entry into the world brought peace during a troubled time. If you have not received Jesus Christ as your Savior, then all is not truly well for you, and I encourage you to seek peace with God by placing your faith in the finished work of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins (Rom. 5:1).
When we are in Christ, we have full access to the “peace that passes all understanding” and joy that accompanies that peace as we abide in Him (Phil. 4:7; John 15:4, 11). I’m still growing in my understanding of this, but it is a wonderful thing to be able to scratch the surface of this truth. As we progress through this Christmas season, my prayer is that you will personally know the reality of God’s peace—and that, regardless of the world about us, that all will be well in our hearts both at Christmas and throughout the year.
By Esther McGuire