Before we pack up our Christmas decorations and the story of Christmas along with it for another year, it would do us all well to visit again the story of the birth of Christ in Luke 2:8-14. Here we read about the angels announcing the birth of Christ to shepherds who were tending their flocks by night. They said: "glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men." (Luke 2:14)
Did someone say, "peace on earth"? Surely we must have misunderstood the angels. Surely they must be kidding. Peace on earth? Those words ring a bit hollow in light of the world situation in which we live today.
The desire for peace is one of the most basic needs and hungers of the human heart and spirit. Many people search for it, but are looking for it in all the wrong ways and places. Some people think they can find peace in a bottle, a pill, a needle, or some other substance. Many people try to fill the emptiness and void in their life with almost anything and everything imaginable, only to have peace elude them.
There is no peace in many marriages and family relationships; instead, they have become literal battlegrounds. "Family feud" is more than the name of a television game show. Rather, it describes their family life instead.
There is a lack of peace and a lot of stress in the work place as well. Workers who feel overworked, underpaid, and under appreciated often live with discontentment about their job or career. Many also live in fear of being added to the unemployment lines and getting laid off, because of company restructuring or downsizing.
Financially and economically, we have all been hard hit this past year because of the stock market crash, home foreclosures, greed on Wall Street and big banks going under. This places enormous strain into our lives just trying to figure out how to make ends meet.
Internationally, there is no peace. We continue to be involved in a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are still looking for members of terrorist regimes all over the world, with the promise of doubling our forces in Afghanistan by the summer of next year. There are deepening concerns about Pakistan, Syria, Russia, and Iran, while still keeping our eye on North Korea and other countries.
Israel is pounding the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in one of the bloodiest conflicts for the Palestinians in the 60-year history of the Jewish state.
So this angelic announcement about "peace on earth" does not seem to even remotely apply to us today. Or does it?
In the days of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, they, too, were going through days of political upheaval and economic unrest, looking for a Messiah to come and set up his rulership on earth, yet they missed the birth of the true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
We too, are in danger of missing the good news of Christ if our focus in on all the uncertainties of our day and turmoil in our world.
Real peace is not a commodity to be manufactured, bought, or sold. It is spiritual in nature and only comes through Jesus, the Prince of Peace. The birth of Christ into our world initiated the greatest peace process ever. In Christ, God was highly favoring and bringing goodwill to all people who would receive the Christ of Christmas, the Prince of Peace. Through Christ, you can have real peace, true peace, and lasting peace.
You and I can live with an underlying peace in these uncertain times if we truly know Jesus Christ and are allowing his peace to rule our minds and hearts (Colossians 3:15). Christ left us a legacy of peace. He said: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you" (John 14:27).
Place your faith and trust in Christ alone to bring peace in the midst of your troubles, hurt, pain, uncertainty, and disappointments. He is the true and only source of real and lasting peace. Let us join the angels’ song and become ambassadors of peace to a world who so desperately needs to hear the good news today.