You’ve likely heard the story from the Bible about the lowly Shepard’s who were tending their sheep in the fields at night when suddenly an Angel appeared heralding the birth of the Savior, followed by an angelic choir singing ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’”
What magnificent news this must have been to those Shepherds! At long last, after centuries of affliction, exile and conquest their prophesied Messiah had come to restore peace to God’s people.
But peace never came to the land of Israel and Jesus’s life here on earth was not marked by peace, but with anger and hostility which culminated in His death. His ministry created waves of unrest in most of the places he traveled and His violent murder epitomized the hatred many felt for Him. But Jesus himself said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36 Shortly after his death, Jerusalem was sacked, the Temple leveled, and the people scattered. So where was this peace the Angel’s spoke of?
What Jesus came to accomplish through His life, death and Resurrection was to restore peace between God and man. He once and for all paved the way for a reconciliation between the sinful children of the world and their Holy Father from whom they had been separated by a gulf that could only be breached by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
- John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- Romans 5:1, “ Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We cannot look into the manger without also seeing the cross. Jesus was born to die in our place. The greatest gift at Christmas is the babe swaddled in the manger, not a present under a tree. And while the life of a believer does not always offer us peace in this world, we are promised His peace, “which surpasses all understanding.” and comes from knowing that we are reconciled with God and will one day be with Him. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!”- John 16:33. THAT is the Good News we celebrate this season!