But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
~ Luke 2:10-14 ~
This passage is among the few that are typically read at Christmas Eve services. We are reminded of our promised Savior’s coming and are left in awe of His majesty and in wonder at what this scene might have looked like. Most will probably sing Christmas hymns, perhaps even “Hark the Herald Angles Sing” or “Angels We Have Heard On High” whilst holding candles in the dimmed church. It is a powerful time, not only that night but also all year. For this is the time we recognize many things, among them being peace, joy, and love.
In this passage, the angel begins by saying that he “brings good news of great joy that will be for all people.” What is this good news? That the Savior has been born. Later, this good news will be called the Gospel. Why is this for all people? Because as discussed in the previous post, the Gospel and the Christ’s salvation was not for a person or particular group of people, but for all people (1 Tim. 2:4). What did Christ show by coming down to us? He shows us that He loved us.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
~ John 3:16 ~
When Christ came down, true Love and the Word came and dwelt among us. He was God incarnate in the flesh. The Lord come and die for us, we who were sinful and undeserving. Moreover, He came not only for Israel, but also for the whole world (Acts 10:34-36).
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
~ John 1:14 ~
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! Ad that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. … Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
~ 1 John 3:1, 4:8-10 ~
Greater love has no one that this, that he lay down his life for your friends.
~ John 15:13 ~
But God demonstrates his love for us in this” While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
~ Romans 5:8 ~
This is why the angel said that he had good news of great joy. The Angels heralded the arrival of the Messiah; the long wait for His coming was over! Now was the time for joy at the arrival of the Savior. And now that He has come and saved us, we have joy anew.
Therefore my heard is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
~ Psalm 16:9-11~
This, dear friends, is why we sing songs like “Joy to the World” and “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”. Our Savior has paid our debt with His life and risen again!
But how in this do we have peace?
We know that with the coming of Christ, many have been and will be divided. Those who do not believe will be separated from those that do. How is there peace? We know that because there is love, there can be no fear.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. There one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
~ 1 John 4:18-19 ~
And how were we made perfect in love? We were made perfect in love because we “have been justified through faith” and now “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, though whom we have gained access by faith into this grace” we now stand in (Rom. 5:1-2).
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
~ Isaiah 53:5 ~
We are made perfect in love because Christ loved us and redeemed us. We no longer have to fear because our punishment has been met in Him, as He took it upon Himself. This is the reason why we experience peace. This is a peace unlike that which is found here on earth. Like joy, this peace cannot be taken away by circumstance; but, because it is founded in Christ, the Prince of Peace, this peace is unending (Isa. 9:6, 2 Cor. 13:11, Eph. 6:15).
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
~ Isaiah 26:3 ~
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
I have told you these things. so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble But take heart! I have overcome the world.
~ John 14:27, 16:33 ~
We can have peace in this world, though there are stressors, worries, hardships, trials, and terror on every side. These things will come and pass and come again. This world with its sin will have trouble. Yet we have this peace beyond understanding. Why is it beyond understanding? Because we have many things that cause terror and worry in our lives that appear reason enough! Yet in spite of these things, we experience peace, joy, and love because of what our Savior has done for us.
This Christmas may you be reminded of the Lord’s love for you, why you can experience joy, and have His all-encompassing peace. Refocus on this now, and may you keep these things from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in heart and mind at all times.
Blessings and a Joyful Advent to you and yours,