Peace On Earth

starry night 3 shutterstock

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 2:14*

The account of the angels appearing to the shepherds in Luke’s gospel sets the stage for the birth of a King. Luke wants us to understand the significance of this event. An event which occurs in the fields outside of an insignificant place called Bethlehem to lowly shepherds who were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night.

In Luke’s day as it is with ours peace was hard to find. For the common person in Israel now living under authority of the Roman empire and the cruel dictatorship of Herod the great there was little peace. Herod was a brutal man who killed his father-in-law, several of his ten wives, and two of his sons. He ignored the laws of God to suit himself, chose the favor of Rome over his own people and imposed unbearable taxes on the people of Israel. Later he would murder every Jewish baby boy two years or younger to attempt to kill the coming King foretold by the wise-men. Luke tells the story of the arrival of the promised One in this way:

In the fields outside of an insignificant place called Bethlehem shepherds were guarding their flocks from predators in the darkness of night. Suddenly a messenger of the Lord, and the darkness was replaced by a glorious light—the shining light of God’s glory. They were terrified!  Messenger: Don’t be afraid! Listen! I bring good news, news of great joy, news that will affect all people everywhere. Today, in the city of David, a Liberator has been born for you! He is the promised Anointed One, the Supreme Authority! You will know you have found Him when you see a baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a feeding trough.** Luke 2:8-12

This is fulfillment of a prophecy by Isaiah hundreds of years before

“Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams,
a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift.
And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great.
The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders.
His name? His name we’ll know in many ways—
He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing,
Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace”. Isaiah 9:6**

As I read this story in Luke’s gospel this Christmas season I am encouraged by the angels proclamation of peace on earth so long ago. At the same time I am saddened that we find  such absence of this promised peace in our 21st century world.

In the poem “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who had lived through the horrors of the Civil War, the death of his wife and his son, we read these words:

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

The last four lines capture in a very poignant way where we find our world this Christmas of 2014. We find war instead of peace, evil seems to increase and hate does indeed mock the notion of goodwill to men in so many ways. In her writing “Peace on Earth” Daphne Delay shares these words

“Yet, although more than a century has passed since Henry W. Longfellow struggled writing the lyrics to his now-famous song, we understand every word. Like so many this time of year, his heart hurt with the despair, hatred, and horrors of war his eyes saw daily. However, regardless of these things there was something unseen which nudged his writing:

“And the bells are ringing… Peace On Earth…
Like a choir, they’re singing… Peace On Earth…
In my heart I hear them… Peace On Earth…”

With great compassion, God saw the condition of earth and made provision for change.

“For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, and be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life” (John 3:16, Amplified).

In other words, Peace. So despite the news and loss, peace is not only available, it is possible.

On that night over 2000 years ago the Prince of Peace the promised One, born in a humble manger arrived and the world was changed. Peace came to our world in the form of a little baby. And despite the lack of peace in our world and those who bring hate is strong we have hope. Hope that in a world where peace is often hard to find we can have the most important kind of peace, peace with God made available through the death of His Son on the Cross.

Colossians 1:20  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross”.

Finally we can look to the words found in the last part of Mr. Longfellow’s poem. We can have assurance that peace will finally come to earth. First for those who accept God’s offer of salvation and finally for all the world. Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

May you and your loved ones know the promise of peace in this Christmas season and in the coming year.

” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”*

Take a minute to enjoy “I heard the bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns

*Authorized King James Version

**The Voice Bible

***Daphne Delay-Peace on Earth http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/Devotions/delay-peaceonearth-christmas.aspx

**** English Standard Version

Photo credit-Shutterstock

 

Advertisements

About HCliffCraig.com

“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
This entry was posted in A CLICK A BLESSING TODAY, CHRISTIAN NUGGETS, CHRISTIAN TAGALOG BLOGS, CHRISTIAN TEENS BLOGS, Christian Teens Blogs - He is my Peace, Light and Refuge, SETTLED IN HEAVEN, TAPESTRY TREASURES and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Peace On Earth

  1. Pingback: My Article Read (12-18-2014) | My Daily Musing

  2. ptl2010 says:

    Praise the Lord for the Prince of Peace comes with healing in His wings to those who will believe. Hallelujah!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.