“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)
We tend to reserve this verse for only and all things “Christmas” related. Once a year, when the lights are twinkling around the malls, the music is blaring, and the festivities are in the air, then we let this verse out of its solitary confinement to remind ourselves that Jesus was born to bring peace on earth and good will to men.
But what about the rest of the year? It’s almost as if Luke 2:14 has no place in the Christian life apart from Christmas greeting cards and banners. Along with the rest of the Christmas decorations, it gets sent back to storage every January—like it’s served its purpose until December rolls around the corner again. But should it be that way? Most certainly not!
The angels did not make this declaration to the shepherds just in commemoration of Jesus’ birth, but for every single minute, hour, day, month, year, decade, century, and millennium after that! Glory to God in the highest! The Son of God has come to earth to bring reconciliation to all of mankind, and His gift of life and peace shall last for all eternity!
How awesome is that? And so when we look at our world around us, and we see conflict among the nations, conflict within the nations, conflict among the churches, and conflict within the churches, conflict among families and conflict within families, we need to keep this in mind: Our Savior came into this world, not for us to hoard or to shield behind a wall of defense, but for us to spread the joy of His love and peace.
Being a Christian does not have to be complicated. It does not have to be kept under the radar. We have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of but we also need to be careful not to be arrogant about it.
We most certainly ought to exercise wisdom and discernment—to not be obnoxious about being a Jesus freak and start shoving Gospel tracts in people’s faces—but neither do we need to cower in the shadows or be paiseh about living practically for Christ.
We have a wonderful message that is too good to keep to ourselves, and the world needs to see that for themselves. The world needs to see that we’re human—we screw up and do stupid things, but we have the assurance of Christ’s forgiveness.
The world needs to see that we squabble and fight, but we are united in the body of Christ by a bond that cannot be broken. The world needs to see that we are temperamental, selfish and conceited individuals, but we love each other despite our differences because Jesus made it possible.
The world needs to see that we are no better than them, but we have been washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ. The world needs to see that we are weak and impetuous people, but we rely wholly and completely on God for strength and guidance out of sheer necessity. The world needs to see that we are not perfect and don’t claim to be, but Jesus is!
And the only way that the world is going to see these things is if we show them. God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) All the preaching and articles and seminars and conferences in the world are not going to do any good for the name of Jesus if we are not living out the love and peace of Christ to our friends, family, and community.
The churches have their responsibilities. The full-time workers and pastors have their ministries. The mission organizations have their specific areas of work to carry out. But at the end of the day, it boils down to us, the every day Christian, to show the world that what our churches and leaders teach is truth. We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
We simply need to love Jesus above all else, love and care for those around us, live in peace, and let our light shine bright in the darkness so that all man may see and glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward man!
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