Christmas is tomorrow, and if your house is like ours, the excitement is building, children are getting more and more excited with each passing moment, and last minute presents are gathering under the tree. But before we tear into the presents, I’d like to give you one last Christmas thought that, hopefully, will be one we all consider into the New Year and beyond…
Peace on earth… good will to men.
It was the word given by angels to shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. It was those words that accompanied the announcement that the Messiah had been born.
But we live in a world where peace is elusive. We live in a nation that has been mired in wars and rumors of wars for the majority of our existence. We live in a country that, for all of our advancement and progress, just doesn’t “get it”.
The promise of the Messiah came with some “fine print” we have ignored. Consider the words of Isaiah…
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6
The government shall be upon His shoulders… The government was meant to rest upon His shoulders: His wisdom was meant to be the foundation of society and civilization. When we take ourselves out from under the authority ordained to lead us, failure is not just a possibility… it’s guaranteed.
His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor… If He is Counselor as the Scripture suggests, we might do well to heed His word. What is the purpose of having a Counselor that you refuse to listen to? Maybe… just maybe… His experience, purpose, and plan is better that yours.
… The mighty God, The everlasting Father… HE is the Almighty! HE is the creator! HE is everlasting to everlasting! When will we stop wasting our time looking to the foolishness of leaders who have no more integrity than sense, and whose lives are but a vapor – here today and gone tomorrow? When will we stop ignoring HE who is Almighty and Everlasting – whose name is Faithful and True???
… The Prince of Peace. A prince is a ruler, one of authority, power, and prestige. Our failure – as individuals, houses of worship, and a nation – to elevate Him to His proper place in our lives, churches, and nation has come with dire consequences. We have traded our birthright for a “mess of pottage”. We have sacrificed eternal hope and promise for fickle and temporary “comforts” that have only proven to lure us into a place of complacency, hopelessness, and despair. We have given up our place at the table of the eternal King (seated alongside the Prince of Peace) for a pile of table scraps outside the gates of the banquet hall. We have relegated the Child in the manger from a place of prominence in our lives, courthouse lawns, and town squares to the dark recesses of storage closets and basements, both in our homes and our hearts.
But there is hope.
The words of the great Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ring in my heart…
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.”
As we enter 2014, let us determine in our hearts to make Him LORD once again. Let us do as Paul encouraged us, lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us, and run the race set before us. Let us determine, as we close another Christmas season, that the spirit of the Child in the manger will be alive in our hearts the other 364 days of the year.
May you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!