Peace is a common theme of the Christmas season. However, as conflicts continue to rage across the planet, peace appears to be little more than an elusive ideal. December 7th is a painful reminder that war and not peace is the legacy of mankind. Still people search for peace. Each Christmas renews the longing for peace on earth. But this sort of “Peace on Earth” is not the message of the angels, instead it is the message of Christmas Cards. Let’s look at what the angels actually said to the shepherds:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
The angels knew that man is at war with God, not only as nations but more importantly as individuals. Romans 5:10 and Ephesians 2:3 tell us we are all born enemies of God and objects of the wrath of God! Imagine being at war with God and being singled out as an object of his wrath. And this is exactly the case. So, the angels proclamation speaks to the only possible resolution of the conflict between God and each person who has ever lived on earth. You see we are not mere spectators in the ongoing war with God, we are active combatants.
Sometimes, we look at this war with God as if we were watching the evening news reporting on a battle in a distant country. But this is not the case. You and I are by nature, enemies of God, his Son, and his Spirit. Our lives are the battlefield. Your children are not exempt from this war. They, too, are born the enemy of God. It does not take rocket theology to figure out that if this is true, each person has a huge, awful problem – he is at war with the Lord of the Universe! This is the war and the peace that the angels spoke about.
This is the good news of great joy. The baby born in Bethlehem would end this conflict. Those for whom he died would no longer be at war with God. Through the blood of the Christ child we can have peace because Christ has made the favor of God to rest upon sinners.
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