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And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:13-14)
The painful memories of 9-11 still linger in the souls of our very being. The images and heartbreaking recollections of that day are perhaps even magnified as we enter into this holiday season. As we look around at the world today and see all the violence and hatred, it seems as though the message of the angels two thousand years ago was only a nice Christmas thought, and not a promise of a different world. After all, have we ever seen peace on earth since the birth of Christ? Hardly. There have been wars, injustice, prejudice, and a steady increase of violence that mocks the triumphant proclamation of the angelic host on that first Christmas night.
So how do resolve this dilemma? Either the angels were mistaken, or we are mistaken in how we have perceived what the angels were saying. Well, I'm certain that the messengers of God are not in the habit of announcing falsities, so I'm going to go with the idea that perhaps many have misunderstood what they meant. Here's why:
When the heavenly host proclaimed peace on earth, they were announcing the end of hostilities between the Creator of the universe and His creation. In other words, when Christ came to earth, lived a perfect life, was crucified for the sins of the world, then rose from the dead; a "peace treaty" of sorts was drawn up in heaven. The 'peace' they speak of is relational peace, not political. Thus there will always be "wars and rumors of wars" (Mt 24), but the hostilities between God and people could now come to an end.
Another translation of the angels announcement reads like this:
"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.'' (Luke 2:13-14 NASB)
Did you catch that last part? "Peace among men with whom He is pleased". Not peace among everyone, but only amid those with whom He is satisfied. Bottom line is that He is only pleased with those who are trusting in Christ as their only hope of salvation.
This Christmas, meditate on the glorious fact that you have peace with the God of the universe through Jesus Christ. Can you even believe that the Almighty King of Kings has stooped down to our level and said: "I love you"? Can you fathom the idea that He who knows the stars by name also knows your name? Life only makes sense when you anchor your soul on that fact. There will always be tragedies and disappointments, but in the midst of this dark world the candle of peace offers eternal hope to those who know Jesus.
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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