“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, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2: 13-14). May this Christmas Day fill us with peace and joy as we visualise the events of Christmas. Let us think about the fact that the birth of Jesus Christ is the beginning of our salvation. In Him we are secure in God’s hand, and even in difficult times we hope for and await His return.
Giving God the glory
Whenever we feel the guiding hand of God, it is good for us to look up and say: “Glory to God in the highest.” We are quick to forget this. Instead we constantly look downward and occupy ourselves with that which is directly before our eyes. However, if the great and eternal God remains the focal point of our lives, we will have a fulfilled life, because we will be carried and blessed by Him.
We can honour
- by being thankful for everything. This must come from the heart. After all, the Lord Jesus already pointed out: “These people … honour Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15: 8; cf. Isaiah 29: 13).
- by offering. In the Proverbs of Solomon we read: “Honour the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (Proverbs 3: 9), in other words, with that which the Lord has granted us in the first place. Let us offer of that which we have received and have been permitted to acquire!
- by doing good to those in need. This too is something we can read in the Proverbs of Solomon (cf. Proverbs 14: 31). Whenever we turn to the poor in love, we glorify God.
- by believing. Noah had faith and built the ark (Hebrews 11: 7).
The peace of God has been granted to us through the incarnation of His Son. This peace is thus much deeper than any earthly peace. It is none other than the Lord Jesus Himself who prepares this peace for us. Christ “is our peace” (cf. Ephesians 2: 14). This peace on earth is given to those whom His favour rests on.
Examples of this include:
- Martha, who accepted the Lord, and Mary, who was anxious to hear His word (cf. Luke 10: 38, 39). Those who accept the Lord and seek His nearness will draw God’s favour upon themselves.
- the disciples who followed the Lord. Following can also be inconvenient at times, and people come up with all kinds of excuses (cf. Luke 9: 57–62). But if we follow the Lord with all our hearts, the favour of God will also rest upon us.
- those who fight for the Lord. Apostle Paul was such a fighter. He fought his way through and did not give up, even when it brought him personal disadvantage and when he was treated with hostility.
May God thus grant us a Christmas blessing such that we gladly glorify Him with all our hearts, that we are a people on whom His goodwill continues to rest, and that the peace of Christ may dwell within us!
Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber
24 December 2008