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!” Luke 2:13-14
Once there was enmity between God and man.
Sin came early on in the story of mankind, and because of it, God was separated from His most beloved creation.
Man was destined to live in a tragic condition: lost in darkness, tormented, mistreated, used and abused by an insidious slave owner. God’s grand plan seemed eternally ruined.
When God created mankind, it was with grandeur. He risked the success of His plan by placing so much choice and authority into man’s hands. Man rebelled and seemingly crushed the life out of God’s expectations.
Whenever there is separation from God, there is no peace. And it can seem like there is ill will between God and man.
As it turns out, God wasn’t mad at man at all!
To prove it, He sent His Son to demonstrate to the entire world, and to every individual who would receive, that He wasn’t angry with mankind. Actually, God was longing to be reunited with His beloved. The gift of Jesus proved God’s desire to have peace on earth and revealed God’s real enemy: sin and sickness.
Peace on earth and goodwill toward men is not a general, ambiguous statement. It’s easy to think of it that way though. It’s like the Miss America pageant when each contestant is asked what she most wants, and the answer is always, “Peace on earth.” There is an expectation that world peace can be achieved through the absence of war, but that is not how real or lasting peace will come upon the earth.
The peace God offers, through His Son Jesus, begins in the individual heart. It starts with you. When you experience salvation (deliverance from the insidious slave owner and the deep, dark torment of His reign in your life), you will experience peace.
God’s peace is for all, but each individual must accept it by their own free will. The hope and expectation of God are that the earth will experience His peace and goodwill when each individual says yes to Him.
In doing so, each of us joins the glorious angel chorus of praise and declaration announcing the fulfillment of the prophecies of comfort, light, a voice and a messenger, a Savior, deliverance, and restoration of relationship between God and man. And the dawning of real, lasting peace and goodwill between God and man that spills over and spreads around the earth one soul at a time.
To you, my dear friend, I say, “Merry Christmas, peace, and goodwill straight from God’s heart to yours.”