Is There Really Peace on Earth?
There are a lot of famous Christmas scriptures, but do you remember the super-memorable line the angels declared to the shepherds on Christmas night? They said, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14).
The phrase "peace on earth" is one of the most oft-used Christmas catch phrases. It's emblazoned on greeting cards, wrapping paper, and glass ornaments.
But, did Christ really bring peace on earth like the angels said He did?
Chris Rice sings a really sweet song called "Peace on Earth," and some of the lyrics go like this:
Peace on earth, peace on earth
Did the angels waste their words?
When I read headlines about ISIS, Syria, Ferguson (and the list goes on), I'm almost compelled to quote Longfellow:
And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"
How could Christ have brought peace on earth when there are still terrorists, hate crimes, child prostitution, slavery, prejudice, and domestic violence? The whole globe simmers with unrest, discontent, and anger.
Where's the peace on earth? Because I don't see it.
And that's just it. The peace Jesus brought ... I can't see it.
When the serpent persuaded Adam and Eve to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit, there was enmity between God and His creation. Years later, the veil in the temple symbolized this separation.
When Christ died for the sins of mankind, that separation, that enmity vanished. Paul says it far better than I ever could:
"At that time ye were without Christ ... having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both (Jews and Gentiles) one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us ... that he might reconcile both unto god in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby ... For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Ephesians 2:12-18).
The peace Christ brought was between earthlings and their Creator. When Christ washes our sin away, God is no longer angry with us and accepts us as sons and daughters.
Chris Rice's song concludes:
Peace within, peace within
Where true peace on earth begins
Every heart finding Him
Has perfect peace within
And even Longfellow comes to the realization:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."
In the midst of frenzied holiday shopping, busy baking, and tedious traveling, may you find that peace that passes understanding at Christmas.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.