Peace On Earth – Goodwill To All
This is the Christmas season. In his gospel Luke, recording the eyewitnesses of those around him, wrote these powerful words; “While the shepherds were in the fields watching their sheep by night, an Angel appeared before them to announce the great news of the Savior’s birth. And suddenly, along with the Angel was a multitude of Angels, too many to count that filled the night sky praising God and saying “Glory to God in the Highest; and on earth peace and goodwill toward men and women, all inhabitants of earth, then now, and in the future.”
We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and Bethlehem is in close proximity to Jerusalem. It’s only six miles away. Yet it was a long way from Nazareth where Joseph and Mary lived. They had to make that treacherous journey over 70 miles to register for the census. That’s what brought them all the way to Bethlehem in the first place. Long ago in that region, many of the sheep grazing were used for Temple sacrifice so the shepherds watched over them day and night. The shepherds experienced this amazing encounter with the Angels in the night sky. Do you think it may have changed their lives?
“Glory to God in the Highest; and on earth peace and goodwill toward all.”
But how can we actually achieve peace on earth? Do you suppose the Angels were predicting a day when peace would be possible? Today, Christmas season 2010 we are still at war in the middle east protecting our freedoms while trying to protect theirs. We are minutes away from another conflict in Korea and there are civil wars in many other countries as usual. Can we actually achieve peace on earth? When Jesus was born, I believe the Angels were pointing to another time. A time prophesied by the Old Testament writers Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and others. A time penned by the Gospel writer John in his Revelation of the future. Yes, a time when Christ would come, a second time to finally bring world peace into existence. Yes, peace on earth at last.
There has never been a generation since the beginning of time when we were not at war with someone or something. Ever since the founding of our country, we have fought in some war every 25 years. Think about it. Every peace treaty since the world began has been broken. Conflict is a part of life; it has been and always will be until Christ returns. But we must never give up. We must never stop trying to help those who are oppressed, those who are in need. After all, this was Christ’s message from the start.
But let’s not deceive ourselves by not knowing who have we been fighting against since the beginning of mankind? I believe that to be the spirit of darkness, satan himself is more alive than ever fighting each one of us as individuals and as a country. Satan does not want the United States of America to be a Christian nation, if so, he would lose some foothold.
Satan hates it when we as individuals draw closer to God through fervent prayer and studying God’s Word. Instead, Satan attacks us in our weakness, and we each struggle with different trials and temptations. The Apostle Paul wrote these powerful words in his letter to the church in Ephesus: