The First Ones to Hear
Have you ever visualized that scene near Bethlehem, when a gathering of shepherds witnessed the greatest announcement that the world has ever heard. Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." They were settling down for the night. The sheep were in the fold and secure. Suddenly the night sky is bright as day and an angel hovers above them speaking with a thunderous voice. Everything that God does brings praise and glory to Himself. The words from the verse above, need to be considered. Glory is deserved appraisal. We honor God by referring to the wonderful things that he does and the wonderful person that He is! The angel voices this glory first. He voices it to the God of the Bible, the God of Heaven, the only true and living God. sm
The angel uses the term, "highest." God's dwelling place is the highest. Just think of the stretches of the universe. Above all the galaxies, nebulas and constellations is the highest. This place is beyond description, yet has been described for our hearts. We long for Heaven, we look forward to our eternal dwelling place. We cherish the promise of Jesus concerning our own mansion. We dream of the eternal home. There is no better eternal destiny and no better plan than God's Bible plan. Highest, means nothing could be better.
The greatest problem on earth is the lack of peace. Sinners do not have peace in their hearts. There is no peace with God. There is no peace between neighbors. There is no peace within our hearts. Yet the angel proclaimed peace on earth. God is the author of peace and He provides it through Jesus Christ only. Most Christians have the peace of God. Some of them do not fully utilize what God has provided. God is the only source of peace. When we receive Jesus, we also receive peace with God. God is at peace with the sinner that has been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. There is no condemnation of God towards anyone who walks in the spirit of God. If you do not have the Spirit of Jesus Christ within then you do not belong to God. Romans 8:9. If we obey God's commandment concerning our neighbor, we can be at peace with our neighbor. That solves many of our very frustrating encounters. When God's peace has shed abroad into our hearts, and we exercise God's peace towards our neighbors, then the automatic result is self peace; peace within ourselves. The angel was right!!
Finally in that statement of the angel, he said, "Good will toward men." This is where you must have the actual Word of God, not some false translation. Most of the false translations will still put the onus on men for the good will of God. In other words, we have to do stuff to please Him. Compare the versions on this verse and see for yourself. Do you have a good works version? If so, then you are being lied to. Baptists are the primary believers in salvation by grace alone. We cannot earn our salvation. Our salvation is not dependent upon our efforts; neither to get it, nor to keep it.
When the angel spoke of the good will of God, he was telling us that Jesus is truly God's gift to the world. We did not and do not deserve what God has done. Our sin has separated us from God and He should have nothing to do with us. But He showed His mercy and grace and took care of everything necessary to bring us back into his life. We have open access to His throne to which we can boldly come.
Christmas cannot survive without its key figure, Jesus. Would all the gift giving have any meaning without the gift of God? Santa is only a fantasy, that disappears with childhood. For most people, Christmas adds to financial debt and disappointments for there are no lasting gifts.
Jesus makes Christmas mean what God wanted it to.