This year more than ever we yearn for peace. We've endured horrific tragedy and natural disasters. We cannot make sense of the the senseless violence in our land, or uncertainty and devastating losses in our lives. More than ever we need the promise of Christmas--The Prince of Peace--to sooth our fears and heal our hearts, to redeem and reconcile. Like the shepherds we welcome the good news of Emmanuel!
Imagine being a shepherd that night on the outskirts of Bethlehem.
When suddenly the sky became a blaze of glory as the angel proclaimed to the shepherds in the field the most magnificent news of all time: "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all
people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11 (NKJV)
God chose His arrival on earth to be 'the little town of Bethlehem' in today's volatile Palestine....
What was it the angel said? "good tidings of great joy which will be to ALL
people". God had sent the Redeemer to the whole world---to Israel and
Syria, to Iran, Somalia, Pakistan, to North Korea and the US; East and West, Gentile, Jew, Muslim and Hindu...."to all people". If God's mercy, love, and redemption would not even be contained to heaven, but burst into earth, it certainly will not be bound by man's maps or borders, and cannot be relegated to the world's religions, rituals, ideologies or traditions. Redemption supersedes all that. Limitless Freedom. Unfathomable Mercy.
Then suddenly that lone angel was joined by a cast of thousands: "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!" vs. 13,14
Here was God's punctuation point! The baby is it! My strategy, the world's peace plan that's been penned from millennia, is here. So you guys go to the peace summit, that humiliating, stinking, feces-reeking barn in Bethlehem.
You'll find my peace plan there.
Peace on earth. We long for it, pray for it, even fight for it.
But we cannot be at peace with each other until we are at peace with God.
Ultimately the only true Peace....is a person. His name is Jesus.
When we receive Him we have life. Only in Him can we find our own personal peace, live together in peace and reconciliation, and love one another as neighbors--across the street, across the checkpoint, across the globe.
This Christmas may you receive true Peace on earth, His peace--and may you express peace and goodwill toward all men