The shepherds received word of the birth of Jesus with these words: 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, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:13-14 NIV).
Peace on earth. How's that working at your house?
Christmas is just a few days away. Is there peace in your world? You've been working for days trying to get all the decorations up. You're almost finished. Then, you remember that you're supposed to bake cookies for your children's class parties. So, the decorations will wait a little longer while you run to the store, buy the ingredients, come home, bake the cookies and somehow manage to get the laundry done before you and your husband leave for his office party. You come home exhausted from the day; but before you go to bed, you have to make sure the children have their Sunday best clean and pressed and ready for church tomorrow morning.
The alarm goes off much sooner than you prefer, but out of bed you jump. And within in minutes you have the kitchen in full gear as you prepare lunch for your church holiday potluck luncheon. As soon as the luncheon is over, you stop by a couple of stores to grab a gift for Uncle Fred and another for Aunt Lucille. Then, you rush home so you can prepare snack foods for the small group meeting in your home. The group finally leaves and after the kids are tucked into their beds, you head back downstairs to spend a few minutes with your husband who is frantically trying put the finishing touches on a presentation he has to be ready for by 9:00 in the morning. "I'll be up for a while," he says, as you head toward the kitchen to clean up the dishes that were left from breakfast. That's when you see the box of decorations waiting to be unwrapped, dusted and put on display. You do about half the box and get a call from the mother of one of your children's classmates saying they have a family emergency and asks if you can fill in as a chaperon for the party. "Sure. I'd be glad to," you say as you finish loading the dishwasher.
Peace on earth.
Your boss just walked in your office, closed the door, and sat down across from you. The plant's cutting back. We have to let thirty employees go. Your job is safe, but he tells you that you are the best person to inform those thirty faithful employees, that this week's paycheck will be their last. It's the week before Christmas.
Peace on earth.
You had gone to the doctor for a regular check up last week and everything seemed to go fine. At least that's what you thought. Then, you get a call from the doctor saying he needs to see you in his office as soon as possible to "talk about something he saw on one of the scans."
Peace on earth.
Is there a chance the angels were misinformed? Surely they meant to say, "Chaos on earth and good luck to all men."
No, they had it right. It was God's desire when His son came to be "with us" that peace would reign on earth and in our hearts. It wasn't a miscommunication or wishful thinking. It was an announcement of what can happen when we receive the Messiah. Peace on earth.
It doesn't mean there won't be chaos in your world. Sure, you can probably slow your pace, cut out a few things, stay at home more, miss a party, bake a few less cookies, make some adjustments in how your job manages you, and find a way to reduce your level of stress. But, face it: life is a full-time job. It's hard to say, "No." Not impossible, but hard.
However, even though your life during these last few hectic days before Christmas is full and overflowing with activity, peace on earth is possible.
It starts with taking a few minutes to listen to the earlier part of the announcement: "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10,11). That's the key.
Peace on earth. A Savior is born.
A Savior is born. Peace on earth.
The Savior is with us. Let there be peace.