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About 27 years before Jesus was born Rome experienced something unique that history has called Pax Romana = the peace of Rome. Beginning with the reign of Augustine, Emperor of Rome and lasting till about 180 A.D. (a period of 200 years) Rome was at peace. They had few internal conflicts and their nation rarely went to war. Their Pax Romana offered something the world hadn’t known for centuries: a nation at peace from war.

But that peace (pax romana) was only yours if you were Roman. If you weren’t Roman, you could have peace with Rome ... but it was often a peace enforced at the point of a sword. You did things their way, or there was no peace. And even for the Romans this Pax Romana was a time of violence and uncertainty. During this period MOST of the Emperors of Rome died by assassination.

One of those emperors – Caligula - was an insane and cruel tyrant who engaged in various drunken parties and orgies.

Then there was another Emperor named Nero who (some believe) burned Rome to the ground and then blamed the Christians for his deed, sending them to die in the Coliseum to amuse the crowds by their deaths.

Then there was Titus – an emperor who had once been an infamous General. He was the commander of the Roman army who had the inhabitants of Jerusalem slaughtered and the city demolished in 70 A.D.

This was a time of great national security for Rome. But it was also a time when people were filled with uncertainty and violence. There was peace from war in Rome… but there was no real peace within the hearts of men. So, when the angels sang that the Messiah had come, they were declaring that God was offering something Rome could not give. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

At the height of Rome’s Pax Romana, the angels of God declaring that a newborn baby was going to offer a new and different kind of peace. Something better than the world could offer.

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