One very special day there was an incredible event that should have made worldwide headlines, but at the time the number of persons who took notice was quite small. But this headline event offered great hope. Today there are more headlines that we can keep track of, and very few of them offer but dim hope, let alone anything great. Most trouble our hearts greatly. Once, there was an angelic choir singing about peace on earth and goodwill toward humankind. On any given day, lately, it seems, there are angry mobs, terrorist actions, wars and rumors of wars, murders, assaults, and any number of acts of heinous violence and ill will. These things, sadly, tend to dominate the headlines—they tend to draw our focus.
Once a year, though, a season comes and is observed by some, a season wherein the news heralded by angels is considered anew. Some celebrate that special birth, recalling the promise of peace on earth and goodwill toward humankind.
Decorations, celebrations, gifts, and songs adorn this festive season, but what of the peace? What happened to the goodwill? When we look at the ugliness, dissension, discord, destruction, injustice, and yes, the evil that crowds our headlines, we may sigh and wish for world peace. But it does not seem to come. Why might that be?
There were no deceits spoken by those angels singing in the night skies of Bethlehem so long ago. They spoke true and their song was genuine. The boy child born all those years ago is, was, and always will be the only hope of peace on earth and goodwill toward humankind. God really did come to us in sending His Son Jesus Christ upon the earth. So, we may ask, where is the peace, whatever became of goodwill? Jesus is the only lasting source for these things. Most of our sentiments toward lasting peace and enduring goodwill have the life cycle of a bubble rising to the top of a soda glass. It is bright, cheery, and elevated by good intentions until it hits the surface of the rest of the world, and then our bubbles burst because our wishes, our sentiments, even our dreams are not hearty enough to bring lasting peace and goodwill. We live in a world filled with sin, attacked by selfishness, and ruined by arrogance. But it is exactly at the point of our greatest despair that Christ coming into the world brings true hope. He does not wish for peace; He, Himself is our peace. He does not come to merely commend goodwill toward humankind. He is the embodiment of God’s goodwill toward the humankind He created and dearly loves. He does not arrive to receive gifts, though the wise men brought them, but that He might be God’s gift to all creation.
Jesus came to bring the cure for sin, which is the cause of all our societal, familial, political, and environmental, ills. Jesus came to bring forgiveness and grace from God toward humanity so that we could be filled with God’s presence and given the freedom not to sin, offered the help to turn the other cheek, imparted the strength to be agents of peace on earth until Jesus returns to establish permanent peace in a realm in which there will be no sin, no sorrow, no suffering, and complete harmony with God and others. But so often too many of us only consider Jesus’ birth, without realizing that the peace and goodwill He came as God’s agent to bring require His life, His message, His death, His resurrection, and our salvation. No one will know peace on earth and goodwill toward humankind in its fullest sense unless they keep coming to Jesus. We must be transformed by Him. The real meaning of Christmas is only found in trusting Jesus Christ for salvation from sin, transformation from within, and living in the world in such a way as to bring Christ into every aspect of human life. Each of us must become the living page upon which the headline of God’s good news is written so that a hurting world can understand God’s love as offered in the babe, the carpenter, the rabbi, the martyr, the resurrected, the ascended, and the ruling Prince of Peace.
Contact Pastor Lamb at firstname.lastname@example.org.