On Earth Peace, Goodwill Toward Men?

The coming of the babe in the manger brought knowledge of salvation and forgiveness of sins. By the tender mercies of God, dawn broke and gave light to those in darkness, in the shadow of death. Jesus became humanity’s guide into the way of peace (Luke 1:76–79). Every year at this time, much of the world turns its eyes back to the babe in the manger, many with thanksgiving, others with longing, for the promise of peace.

With all the chaos in the world and individual lives, one wonders if the promise has failed. Was the heavenly host premature in declaring, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14)? That quote is lifted up every Christmas in song, in pageants, on cards; but it seems to have lost its richness. However, that is probably not what the angels said. Read any modern translation and see; the angels declared, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

The favor of God rests on those who put their trust in him; they alone have peace within themselves and with him. The promise has not failed, the angels were not premature. The babe in the manger is the guide into peace, for those who cleave to his cross. This Christmas, remember Calvary. The birth of the babe in the manger cannot be understood apart from the death of the man on the cross.