“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
It’s that time of year when people are busy with Christmas preparations. Trees and homes are being decorated with lights, thoughts are filled with feasting, fellowship, and gift-giving. For some it is tradition. For others it is in remembrance of Christ, the greatest gift ever given. Whatever your reason for celebrating, let the words of the heavenly host be your guide this year.
On earth, peace may seem like a faraway dream. However, it has already come. The words, “on earth peace, goodwill toward men, are not a wish--they are an announcement of what God had just done. In effect, here is Christ, now there is peace and goodwill toward men on all the earth for every man to enjoy.
No, I’m not blind or delusional. Peace on earth, as most people envision it, is a time in which the entire world is without war or conflict. That day will come when the Prince of Peace reigns on Earth---and not until then. The road to that day is strewn with blood, pestilence, war, and death on an unimaginable scale. When that day will come, no one but God knows. So, how can I say peace on earth has already come?
Peace begins in the heart and soul of each man, woman, and child. The world cannot be at peace until every heart is at peace. Nevertheless, the heart can be at peace regardless of what is going on in the world around it. Christ is the peace that surpasses all understanding. His presence within a heart is capable of imparting peace in any circumstance. Capable, not automatically or effortlessly. Christ will not drive worry from you with a whip as He did the money changers from the Temple. But, if you have had enough and are willing to lay down worry and anxiety, He will replace them with peace.
The world thinks it’s a mental defect to rely on Christ and not “be concerned.” That’s why they call us unthinking and uncaring. We are really only individualists who understand peace comes from within and flows outward. Turmoil will live in your heart as long as you allow it. No one can legislate peace for you. There’s no government program for free peace of mind. Let’s face it, some people thrive on drama, and “woe is me.” Christ is peace on earth and has been for more than two thousand years.
As for goodwill toward men, it is the commandment of God. Not every relationship among men will end in goodwill, but we are commanded to begin there. The positive reception of strangers will produce more peace and goodwill than a scowl and rejection based on political ideology. A hand extended offers more goodwill than an upraised fist. Goodwill begets goodwill--it also begets martyrdom. Nevertheless, it is God’s command.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”