Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace - Luke 2:14a
A passage that is often read at Christmas comes form Luke 2:13-14 where it says And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." (NAS) While one of the many themes of Christmas is that of peace, at the Peterson household peace was hard to be found the Christmas they were told a baby was on the way.
Ever Since Martha had told Harold and Stella that a baby was on the way, fighting and arguing had become the rule of the day. “IT IS NOT!” Harold would yell at his sister and than Stella Would yell back “IT IS TOO!” and after a few rounds of shouting at each other the fists would start to fly until Dad stepped in to break up the fighting.
Before Their Dad ever had a chance to say anything to them about their fighting, Stella would start in trying to blame Harold, “It’s all Harold’s fault.” she would say. Of course Harold wasn’t going to stand by and take the blame and would quickly try to pass the blame back onto his sister “It’s her fault, she started it.” He would say. And the next thing you know, the shouting, and arguing and fighting would start all over.
“Started what?” Bill shouted trying to get the kids attention. “Harold thinks we’re having a baby brother.” Stella yelled out. “That’s because it is.” Harold yelled back, “We don’t need another girl in this house, one is too many.” “Oh, Yeah.!” Stella shot back, “If you ask me we have too many brothers in this house and that’s why it’s a sister.” and than for the next half an hour Stella and Harold kept trying to out do each other with their yelling. Harold yelling “IT’S A BOY” and Stella Yelling “IT’S A GIRL”
As the kids started to quiet down, Bill started to tell them about Mary in the Bible and how she responded when she found out she was going to have a baby. “That’s right.” Harold said , “God told her she was going to have a boy just like we are...” but before he could finish Stella started shouting “It’s a girl” again. And that started the shouting match all over again.
Before long they started pushing and shoving each other around and the yelling kept getting louder. Finally Bill went and got some duct tape and cotton balls. He taped the kids mouths shut, sent them to their rooms and than put the cotton balls in his ears And at least for a couple hours he had some peace and quiet.
How sad it is that in many families Christmas time becomes a time of contention as family members fight with one another as Harold and Stella or even worse. Imagine for a moment that first Christmas and how much fighting took place between the shepherds. Can you see them sitting around a fire yelling at each other about how lazy they are and how bad they smell and arguing over who's turn it is and using their shepherds staff to hit each other in the head while wolves are slaughtering their sheep.
Suddenly the sky lights up and they start arguing with each other as to what is causing the light only to be interrupted by an angel and a message. As soon as the angel leaves they turn to arguing again and a fist fight breaks out. Suppose it had been like this on that first Christmas. What we read is quite different.
Luke 2:8-20 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 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 among those with whom he is pleased!" When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (ESV)
The message of that first Christmas was not one of contention but of peace. In Isaiah 9:6-7 we read For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (ESV) Jesus was to be the Prince of Peace – no wonder the angels sang of peace on earth.
When it comes to peace we should:
- Love it - Zechariah 8:19 This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “The special days when you give up eating in the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months will become good, joyful, happy feasts in Judah. But you must love truth and peace.“ (NCV)
- Look for it - Psalms 34:14 Stop doing evil and do good. Look for peace and work for it. (NCV)
- Pursue it - 2 Timothy 2:22 Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (HCSB)
- Live it Romans 12:18 If possible, on your part, live at peace with everyone. (HCSB)
I hope your Christmas goes better than the Peterson’s. Merry Christmas and don’t forget who’s Birthday we’re celebrating - Jesus’, the Prince of Peace.
Here's Something To Ponder
- Are your actions bent towards contentions or peace?
- Are you willing to be at peace?