Peace on Earth

Gloria in excelsis deo

Gloria in excelsis deo (Photo credit: Boston Public Library)

Luke tells us that angels appeared to a group of shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus. They told the shepherds that the Christ, the Promised Savior, had been born in Bethlehem. The angels let them know that they could find the Savior as a baby swaddled in cloth and lying in a feed trough for the animals.

After the announcement, Luke says that a multitude of angels appeared in the sky and began to sing these words, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14).

As we celebrate Christmas, we like to talk about peace and goodwill coming to us from the Christ child. But there isn’t much peace around us. Peace can be hard to come by. But there are some practical ways that peace comes to us through Christ.

First, we experience personal peace when we find that we have forgiveness from God. Our minds and hearts can be troubled as we deal with the effects of the ways our sin hurts us and others. As Paul writes in Romans, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

Second, as we live according to the teaching of Christ, as we follow Christ, we create peace in our circles of influence. Jesus taught us to be peacemakers. For most humans, our instinct is to fight back, or to seek revenge. But with Jesus’ Spirit giving us strength, we can bring peace in place of aggression. As Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Finally, the promise of God is that the whole universe will live according to the peace of God. There will be a day when God will put an end to all evil. There are many places in scripture which affirm this beautiful truth. Maybe the most powerful are these well-known words from Isaiah. “And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

So as the excitement of this Christmas fades, remember those words which the angels sang to the shepherds and how God really does bring peace to us and our world.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to those on whom His favor rests.”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love in Christ,

Greg Burriss, Pastor

Rocky River Baptist Church

Siler City, NC

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