Peace on Earth; Goodwill Toward Men
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Mt. 5:9)
Growing up, I’ll always remember my father’s charge to my siblings and me. “Dare to be different,” he would say. He didn’t want us to conform to the culture, but to live unique lives, set apart. This was also a challenge for us to be an influence for good in the lives of others. After all, you are either influencing others or they are influencing you.
Today, we celebrate our Lord Jesus Christ and his birth with our families. We share gifts selected with care for our loved ones as a representation of the gifts the Magi brought to honor our Lord, King. In giving thanks for Christ’s first coming, we also know that His death, resurrection, and second coming are truly the greatest gifts for those who call upon His name.
Next week, as is tradition, we will look ahead to 2019 and make resolutions to better ourselves and to better the world. In other words, we will resolve by the Spirit’s leading to positively influence ourselves for good, so that we can do likewise for others—our families, our neighbors, our churches, and our communities. That is the gift we have to share—the gift of the Gospel which continues to transform our lives so that we may share that transformation with others. Particularly in these divisive times, doesn’t our world need that gift now more than ever? How can we share this amazing gift if we don’t claim and demonstrate the Lord’s peace in our own hearts and lives (Jn. 14:27)?
We see too clearly how—in the name of inclusion, tolerance, equality, fairness, and the like—peace is nowhere to be found. Our people are perpetually divided into tribes with well-intentioned laws establishing “protected classes.” These have instead led only to greater division and the need for more tribes to “protect” those who have been left out. Then, as each tribe has formalized and staked out their rights, the division has only intensified, flamed on by a tribal media focused only on ratings and money.
“Fake news” leads to “loss of truth,” resulting in more division. Because of this, we as believers are in danger of losing the Nobel Truth which no manmade law can force, but to which we are all called—love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and your neighbor as yourself (Lk. 10:27). This requires daring to be different. It requires positive, active influence with a heart of peace.
Love of neighbor also requires sharing uncompromised truth.
Why? Because compromising truth does not lead to peace. Just the opposite, in fact—it leads to fractured families which leads to fractured lives. That’s why compromising the family—the heart of healthy societies—is what leads to the division we see in our culture today. The truths that life should be cherished from conception to natural death; that ideally, children do best in intact homes, raised by both a mother and father; that parents must direct the “training up” of their children, not the government; and that laws that parse us into tribes undermine our nation and take our focus off of our Lord’s great command.
When we reclaim these truths established by our Holy God, we can then set the course by which peace on earth and goodwill toward men can be the hope of future generations. It begins with those who call upon the name of our risen King and to follow Him to the cross.
If we are to be in the world but not of the world, we must then live and act in ways that dare to be different. To be different in the world today is not to huddle within our tribes, but to bring peace on earth and goodwill to men through the Truth (Jn. 14:6)—the Truth who, by His grace, brings the peace of eternity to our hearts, so that as image bearers, we can bring goodwill to our fellow man.
May the love and the peace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you and your family this Christmas and forever more.
President & CEO
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” [or, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth, goodwill among men’].
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” -Lk. 2:10-16