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 2:13-14 KJV
Points to Ponder:
I’ve often wondered if the words of Luke 2:13-14 crossed the mind of Edmund Sears as he composed his beautiful carol, “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.” Its lyrics depict a people who are burdened, bent low by the “woes of sin and strife,” forced to toil over each step. His classic penmanship seems to be describing the plight of fallen mankind. One overarching question that we’re left to ponder is, then, how do we maintain peace – with God, with others, with ourselves – in the midst of a fallen world? To put it realistically and in the vernacular, “Life is hard, peace is harder.”
Let’s draw some specific parameters for this thing called “peace” for the purposes of today’s post. Often, it is used with an all-inclusive or generic connotation, but let’s break it into two distinct segments: human peace – which places its trust in man’s strength – and divine peace which puts all confidence in God for providing peace through Jesus Christ as the Ultimate Answer to every problem we face.
Even at this time of year when TV commercials and programming convince us that our lives should be looking like some warm and fuzzy scene out of a snow globe or a Dickens novel, we find ourselves in circumstances that spiral beyond our control. Inwardly and outwardly, our very beings grow constrained by utter turmoil and, sometimes, may even become paralyzed by fear. The issues range from health problems to family estrangements to economic instability to world terrorism. Our feelings resign us to the “fact” that the absolute worst will happen even as we scramble for possible solutions only discover what we knew all along: that we have no solutions. And because we have no solutions, we often have little inner peace.
What might be a cause for such miserable failure of this methodology? Could it be that we are prone to seeking human peace as opposed to divine peace in such situations?
Sears actually suggests an antibiotic for the infection of disillusionment that comes from looking to humans for provision of peace. He implores us to “Look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing, [to stop and] rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.”
It is important to note that, while his call may seem a bit inconvenient amid the chaos of life, it’s so much more than a flippant exhortation to “cheer up [or] keep a stiff upper lip” because, after all, “this too shall pass.” The message the angels delivered was wrought with hope, love, joy, and most of all, peace for those Israelites then and those of us now who felt or feel they will literally buckle beneath the weight of life’s pressures. In the first seven words of their proclamation of “Peace on earth, good will to men…” they delivered the news that the Answer to life’s questions and problems had come to earth. Yourquestions. Your problems. My questions. My problems.
Think of it….these angels were proclaiming that the Peace of God now walked among men. Present was the one Solution who can and will free us from the burden of sin…the one Person who can and will divinely enable us to know peace.
– Copyright 2016, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All Rights Reserved.
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Focus for Reflection:
In what ways, if any, would you like to commit to pursuing peace in the following areas during and after the Advent 2016:
Does Luke 2:13-14 or the lyrics penned by William Sears give you cause to look expectantly to Christ’s return? Explain your answer.
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