And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,” Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
I wonder at people now, who seem to want desperately to keep the pot stirred, who immerse themselves all day and night in the turmoil and hate of today’s social media world, who join in eagerly to add their voices to the screams of cultural warfare. We are going to wear ourselves out, or have strokes in our rages.
Ours is a culture of overstimulation. But aren’t there moments, now and then, when we’ve had enough? Don’t we all really want some peace?
At Christmas we are celebrating a happening in real time and space, when God decided to come to earth, our dwelling place, not as a conquering overlord or incoming ruler, but as helpless a human being as can be. Almighty God, the Creator, actually became a newborn baby from a very poor family in an oppressed underclass, under downright primitive circumstances.
And it wasn’t a cameo appearance. He meant it. He committed to being that baby, living that life, seeing it through to its horrible end. He really became one of us and experienced all the anguish and grief we do, and much more than we do.
Can you imagine his perspective? He created a perfect—perfect universe—and then found himself living smack in the middle of what we had made of it. It was fallen, broken by our sin, harsh, hostile, unjust. What he had made but distorted and diminished and deranged.
He suffered. He experienced a horrible death both as a human man and as God. We simple creatures cannot conceive of his suffering. Worse, his death was the result of allowing himself to be subject to the derangement and sin we had made of his world.
He did this so that he might save us from the hate we had wrought, that we might escape the consequences of our own evil. He took the blame for us, and his Father accepted the sacrifice, giving to us freely his holiness and guiltlessness.
At Christmas, we celebrate that time that God chose to become one of the least of us, and truly became one like us and among us. That is love.
And about that peace:
He said this: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. John 14:27
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,” Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men on whom his favor rests!”
God was announcing peace with us. Personal peace, reconciliation, a restored personal relationship. Nothing on your ledger. This meant that we as individuals can have peace with God, a permanent remedy for our personal resistance against him. Peace with God.
We are meant to share that peace with our fellow earthlings. A community of those at peace with God surely creates peace on earth, a blessed refuge. Do you know another way to have peace?
If we find ourselves exhausted by all the strife, thinking that maybe we could find a little quiet place and feel peace for a little, we surely can have it. And much more. Our loving and merciful God wants us to come aside from the world and indulge in his peace. Merry Christmas.