This message of comfort and assurance sung by the angelic choir to the stunned shepherds outside of Bethlehem expresses the fulfillment of humanity’s quest for tranquility and well-being.
While the inaugural performance of this hymn of praise debuted over two-thousand years ago, it seems that mankind is further than ever from realizing its message.
Whether you consider the political chaos and fractured nature of our own society so evident this election year, or whether you look abroad at the genocide and ethnic/religious cleansing being foisted upon Christian minorities in the Middle East and Africa – it is apparent that the bulk of humanity has failed to hear, comprehend, and appropriate the message of the gospel proclaimed at the birth of Jesus.
It seems that at least weekly we hear of tragic new examples of radicalized terrorists perpetrating their devotion to Jihad wherein murder and mayhem are cardinal doctrines of their perverted faith. If ever there was a polar opposite of the Christmas message of peace and good will, it is seen in incidents of terror, such has struck the German Christmas market earlier this week.
Jesus taught that “by their fruits you shall know them.” One could not ask for a clearer manifestation of the heart and soul of unbridled Islam than what has been made evident this week. Furthermore, there is purportedly a list, circulating in Arabic, of American Christian churches to be targeted by Islamic terrorists this holiday seasons.
The good news is not only that Jesus came to this world 2000 years ago but that one day, in the sovereign purposes of God, the peace and good will proclaimed at His birth will become a reality throughout the earth.
Isaiah declared that men “shall beat their swords into plowshares . . . nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” The Prince of Peace will so rule that “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end . . . the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
The peace and good will proclaimed by the angels at Bethlehem will be realized – not through a strong-armed dictatorship – but through the transforming power of the gospel, a message that changes men’s hearts from devotion to evil to bringing glory to God in the highest.
Let us rejoice in the peace we presently know because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. And let us be diligent now and throughout 2017 in proclaiming the only lasting solution to the turmoil sweeping our land. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners and to transform their souls by the application of the gospel.