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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Peace On Earth Good Will Toward Men

“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, good will toward men.”
Luke 2:13-14 KJV

More often than not the Christmas season can be hectic. If we take time to be alone with God and focus on the glory of Christmas, we will indeed feel his inner peace. On the other hand, if our activities send us in too many scattered directions we will end up feeling anything but peaceful.

God’s message to my heart today is Paula, be careful and do not let your holiday preparations steal your outward peace. Make time to reflect on my glory, because in doing so you will also experience my inner peace. Take time to focus on my gift, which is intended for all people. Hear the Christmas message, “Peace on earth and good will toward men.”

Today I am trying to imagine that first glorious Christmas evening when the angel brought the message of the Messiah’s birth. After the angel had proclaimed God’s announcement, the heavenly hosts joined the angel and God’s glory was unleashed across the midnight sky. The privileged shepherds witnessed this magnificent display of praise and worship! What an amazing sight that must have been. God’s blazing glory all around!

The message was clear. The Savior of the world had been born and he would be the bridge between God and man. This baby was the promised One. He was the fulfillment of the promised Messiah. This baby would be the one who would restore us to God and make possible a personal relationship between God and man. Even from that very first Christmas night the heavens declared that peace and good will was an opportunity for all mankind and this opportunity was coming straight from the throne of God.

I doubt that these simple men had a full understanding of everything the angel had said. When their fear had passed and their heartbeats had slowed down, I can just see them standing around rubbing their eyes, looking at each other, scratching their heads, and stroking their beards. Yet very quickly they said to each other, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” Luke 2:15b KJV and they hurried away seeking the Christ child.

Oh my, if only eyewitness news could have been there to report God’s story that glorious night! But instead God chose to come to the simple shepherds who heard, saw and believed. These men left their work and immediately went to the city of David seeking their Savior, a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

Their first look at this child must have been one of both wonder and amazement. Right there before their eyes, was a poor, small helpless baby, lying in a manger. Could it possibly be that the Messiah was welcomed into this world only by his parents, the common shepherds who knelt before him, and a few animals? Surely, God would not choose this stable surrounded by conditions that were way beyond all human reason, to be the birthplace of the Messiah. Yet there before their eyes was this precious baby, fresh from heaven, the Son of God, who was born of a virgin, the prophesied Messianic King!

I have tried to wrap my mind around the completeness of God’s gift to our world. In the book of Leviticus, five different sacrifices are described. The meaning of these five sacrifices has provided me with a new understanding as to the magnitude of God’s loving Christmas gift.

The Sin Offering and The Guilt Offering were mandatory for atonement of sin. Jesus became that sacrifice when he took our place on the cross.

The Burnt Offering and The Grain Offering were offerings of voluntary commitment and worship. Jesus voluntarily laid down his life. His obedience to His Father was the highest form of worship that any Son could give his Father.

The Fellowship Offering was for communion between the Lord, the priest and the worshiper. Jesus was the bridge between God and man for fellowship, and communion.

Only God…only God, could provide such a complete sacrificial package! God sent his son Jesus Christ, who was all of those offerings wrapped up in one significant offering. Jesus came from the security and glory of heaven into this world to be the sacrificial offering for sin, and the offering that would provide fellowship between God and man. Jesus then chose to make the offering complete when he voluntarily laid down his life as an act of worship and commitment to his Father.

On that historical night, God sent a message straight from his heart to this sinful world. The message came through the angels! … “a multitude of the heavenly host who were praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” That was the night that God said to mankind, “I want you back, so I am sending a good will offering of forgiveness, inner peace, and restored fellowship between God and man.”

Through accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we have forgiveness and inner peace. God’s offering to mankind carries with it a message of love and good will for everyone who will believe!

On that very special night God’s birth announcement of his One and only Son was announced across the midnight sky. God knew from the beginning that Jesus would be the sacrifice for mankind’s sin. But in addition, on the night of the birth of the Christ child, God wanted mankind to recognize that Jesus would be the offering that would make possible a personal relationship with him. Personal access, fellowship and communion with the Father would soon be restored and the yearly sacrifices would soon be abolished.

I am impressed that the shepherds went with haste! They didn’t call a meeting, they didn’t take a vote. Nor did they call in a team of expert shepherds to determine if this was a good opportunity. No, very simply by their immediate actions, we see that the shepherds simply believed. As believers we know that it is God’s good will that has provided mankind with a second chance. That holy night the shepherds witnessed the angels doing what they do best, honoring God through a splendid display of praise and worship, saying “Glory to God in the highest!” We too should recognize this blessed event as an occasion for our magnificent praise and worship.

The Christmas season is an excellent opportunity for us to exhibit a spirit of peace and good will. As I shop I know there will be times that I will need to exhibit a spirit of peace rather than irritation. As I drive in the holiday traffic I will have opportunities to show courtesy to others rather than voicing my impatience. When I invite people into my home I need to offer them not only Christmas cookies but also the spirit of peace and good will. I need to look for opportunities to help those less fortunate by sharing God’s love through the use of my time and my resources. I also pray that God will place unbelievers in my path this Christmas season, so that I will have opportunities to share the message of that spectacular night. The very night that God came to earth in the human form as a poor and helpless baby, who was the complete sacrificial package found lying in a manger!

Peace on earth for me is found deep within my heart. Good will toward men is demonstrated to others by showing compassion, mercy, love, and patience to others.

Christmas is a perfect time to make a special effort to show good will toward all those we come in contact with. Pray for opportunities to share God’s message of good will with those who do not know him as their personal Savior. Share the message that Jesus Christ became our Sin and Guilt Offerings. Tell them that Jesus Christ also became our Fellowship Offering, the offering that makes it possible for us to have a personal relationship with God both now and forever.

As Jesus walked the dusty roads of Galilee, the will of his Father was always before him and obedience to his Father was of utmost importance. Jesus demonstrated his love for his Father by voluntarily dying on the cross. This act was worship given to his Father in its highest form. Never before had their ever been a voluntary Burnt Offering or a Grain Offering of such magnitude!

Through the sacrifice of his Son, God demanded both the atonement for our sin and the restoration of fellowship and communion that had been lost in the Garden. Without a doubt those were divine acts of God’s love and grace. But could it be that it was not the Divinity of Jesus, but rather the humanity of Jesus that voluntarily responded to his Father in love and obedience? Could it be that it was that act of submission that made the sacrifice fragrantly sweet and complete?

I hope that you will join me in savoring this Christmas take away. Embrace God’s love and experience his inner peace even in a world that is restless and stressful, greedy and self serving, and arrogant and rude. Remember that Christians are God’s vessels that he uses to pour out his peace on the earth in a world that is anything but peaceful. We are also called to speak God’s message of good will and exhibit that good will to others.

God’s amazing love came down to us on that first Christmas night and when it did the heavens burst forth in the most elaborate unimaginable display of God’s love and grace. It was a spectacular birth announcement that would change our lives for all eternity.


Do you often find yourself zipping through Christmas with only a handful of thoughts about Jesus?

What do you think that peace on earth really means?

This Christmas season what will you do and what will you leave undone in order to allow yourself time to focus on Jesus and feel his inner peace?

As you prepare for Christmas will you choose to demonstrate good will to those you come in contact with by being compassionate, merciful, loving, patient, and kind?


Dear God,

Please help me this Christmas season to respond as a simple shepherdess, who has seen your glory.

As I scurry about making holiday plans, remind me that by my actions and words I have a wonderful opportunity to relate your glorious Christmas message of, “Peace on earth – goodwill to men on whom your favor rests.”

God forgive me when I rush ahead of you. Help me to be aware of all those I meet and help me not to miss a single opportunity to exhibit good will to all those I come in contact with. I pray that this Christmas season my life will reflect an inner peace that can only come from you.

Give me your grace so that I will want to choose to be compassionate, merciful, loving, patient and kind during this holiday season. Help me to remember that I have seen the glory of your salvation and I must pass it on. God forgive me when I fail to show good will to others. Help me to remember that my negative remarks and actions do not bring glory to you and that an irritable spirit cancels out your peace in my life.

God, what an amazing plan, all of the Old Testament offerings wrapped up in one complete package, and his name is Jesus.

God I am astounded that you, the powerful God of the universe, actually put on skin and came to live among us. Today, I offer up to you my praise and worship for all you have provided for me through the birth of your Son. If only my praise and worship was as magnificent as the praise and worship that came from the lips of the heavenly host that first Christmas night.

So Father, I humbly say thank you.

For yours is the power and the glory forever, Amen.