In this post, David B has graciously provided an expanded version of his communion devotional from last Sunday (minus the PowerPoint slides of course).
I want to focus on the part of the Christmas narrative where the angels made that amazing announcement to the shepherds:
“…… I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
(For the full context, see Luke Chapter 2.)
Was it a “Merry Christmas” wish from heaven – to us?
No, it was more than just a wish, it was a promise fulfilled.
But note what they said.
The traditional version is: “Peace on Earth, good will towards men”.
Well, we all want world peace -- in theory..
Don’t you love that carol (Is it a carol?) that talks about “my grown-up Christmas list” where wars will all end, we just love each other and everything’ll be hunky-dory. I say a big Amen to that – in theory.
But how will it happen?
If I was God (thank God I’m not God!) but if I was, I’d get all my angels to gather up every tank, battleship, missile, rifle, rocket-launcher, nuclear warhead etc etc, send them off to a remote planet and zap ‘em all to smithereens with my own personal Death Star. Then I’d grab some heads of state and bash their heads together and demand they give up violence or Boy! Will they get it!
But all jokes aside, would that solve the problem of the human heart? Can everyone learn to forsake their self-centredness (“Sin”) which sometimes expresses itself in violence.
If Cain killed Abel with just a rock, he had the same condition of heart as he would if he had a weapon of mass destruction.
God has the best will in the universe, but He won’t violate our free choice. And we’ve been making stupid, violent choices for thousands of years, no matter what our well-meaning peace-makers sing about Peace.
The seasons of good will are wonderful, but they don’t seem to last.
The truth is, we can’t do it on our own.
But is that really what the angels were saying?
Why didn’t they come in Kaftans and beads, saying “Hey, Peace, dude! Just make love not war!”
Other interpretations of their declaration say: “.... and on Earth, peace toward men of good will.”
Also “….and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
The context of the whole bible message is that without a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, you will never know lasting, personal peace – let alone peace among nations!
That’s why it was prophesied hundreds of years before about Jesus that “His name shall be called ….. the Prince of Peace.” (Check out the whole of Isaiah 9:6)
Yes, I believe that there will be lasting global peace – when He returns.
Our best political and diplomatic efforts have failed, big time. His won’t.
Meanwhile, what’s God’s solution to all our present strife?
He sent a baby boy. “Emmanuel” i.e. God with us!
He became one of us. He experienced life as we know it, from birth to death, but then overcame it.
He infiltrated our prison to set us free (if we want to, that is!)
He is the Prince of Peace.
To reach people with Real Peace, we need a Real Person.
Let’s get to know the Prince personally, and then we can begin His Peace Plan in our own hearts.
Who knows what other lives our Personal Peace Plan can touch?