Posted by Glenn Packiam on 7 December 2017

Peace on Earth

Scripture: Luke 2:8-20 (CEB) 

Let there be peace on earth. We hear these words every Christmas, the echo of the song of the angels to the shepherds. Often, we find these words imprinted on pictures of snow-covered homes and sprawling landscapes. Peace, we think, is the ideal holiday—friends and family near, everyone loves one another, and no one is sick or sad or suffering.

But the first Christmas was nothing like that picture. A young couple was displaced, their whole nation—Israel—was living under the oppressive rule of the Romans. Most stunning of all, the song of the angels, proclaiming “peace” came to shepherds—people who were at the very bottom of the social ladder; people on the move and on the margins. How does that scene fit the song of peace on earth?

Maybe we’ve got the song wrong. You see, scholars suggest that the wording of this famous phrase would be better expressed as, “On earth, let there be peace among the ones whom God favors.” Or as one translation puts is, “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth, peace among those whom he favors.” Peace has come, and it has come to the favored ones.

And here’s where the good news gets even better: the one who God favors are the unlikeliest of all. God shows His favor to the lowly, to the outcast, to the marginalized, to the hungry, to the sick. The song of the angels becomes a theme in Luke’s gospel, a banner over Jesus’ earthly mission: Jesus came to announce God’s favor to the most unlikely people.

This peace—in the great Jewish tradition of that word—is not just about a feeling of well-being; it’s about wholeness. To be at peace is to be put back together again 

Now, hear the song again: To the unlikely and the unlucky, God has favored you! He has come to put you back together again.

So, where are you as you read this? Do you find yourself in a less-than-Christmas-card-feeling situation? Are relationships falling apart? Are things broken? Have you been squeezed out of the picture by others? Are you overwhelmed by the pain and sorrow of the world?

The angels have a song for you: God favors you! Jesus is here to bring you peace. One day God will put the whole world back together again. But today, He wants to start with you.

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