“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17, ESV
“Glory to God in the highest!,” was the proclamation made by the angels announcing the birth of Jesus, “And on earth, peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
No matter who sings it, or what version of it I hear, the old Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is one of my favorites. Jesus came into the world as one of us, and everything changed. The son of God, and the son of man, fully divine, fully human, is the subject of a beautiful story. But it is far more than just a story to be read at the appropriate time. “There is no peace on earth, I said,” is one of the lyrics from the previously mentioned Christmas carol. When Jesus came into the world, it was the birth of grace, the covenant long planned by God for the redemption of his creation. Among men, it certainly appears that there is no peace, but the hope for peace, along with love, comes through this new covenant of grace that was introduced by Jesus.
Humankind has made a shambles of God’s creation ever since the very beginning. And I think it is accurate to say that, even after the appearance of Jesus, and the introduction of the covenant of grace, humans have still made a shambles of what God wanted to bring about, even the church. Of course, if you read the book, you understand that a second appearance by Jesus is necessary to clean up the mess. We can even argue over that. Nonetheless, the message of grace that Jesus brought with him is still there, and people can still find their way to the peace that passes all understanding through Jesus Christ.
The birth of Grace. One day, perhaps we will be able to see that all the bickering, infighting, warring, conflict, and the troubles of both mankind, and on a smaller scale, the church, is nothing more than the result of human selfishness. It is in contrast with God’s selflessness in making a sacrifice out of himself, in the person of Jesus, to open a door to reconciliation. It is hard to imagine us reconciled with God, when the people who claim his name cannot find a way to reconcile with each other. No wonder the world doesn’t act like it is paying attention.
It’s Christmas once again. Celebrate the birth of grace by making a real effort to gain some grace in your life.