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Dec 25, 2018
Perhaps the greatest words of hope ever spoken was by the song of the angels to the shepherds heralding the birth of Christ, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
Since that time there have been many wars, conflicts, untold suffering and persecution among the human race – so much so that many have lost faith that the words of the angels will ever become a reality. This Christmas, as we reflect on the birth of Christ, is a good time to reflect and ask where the peace and goodwill is, for to many it seems to be a time of great unrest and ill will with neighbor against neighbor and brother against brother. All one has to do to test the waters in this generation is to give out a political view. Chances are that such a person will be met, not with goodwill, but with ill will and conflict. Many are afraid to speak their views and remain silent on numerous aspects that are important to them.
So, did the angels speak falsely, or premature in their declaration? Where is the peace and goodwill of which they sang?
Those who doubt the truth of these great words overlook the principle behind the manifestation of all things of truth and beauty. All creation happens first spiritually before materializing on the physical plane, and spiritual progress manifests in the individual before the group, and the group before it comes to universal acceptance.
The full manifestation of peace and goodwill first rested upon one individual, Jesus of Nazareth. As he went forth to fulfill his mission he demonstrated supreme goodwill by healing all those who sincerely sought him. When John the Baptist was in prison facing death and a trial of his faith he sent messengers to Jesus asking if he was the one to fulfill the prophecy or the Messiah. Jesus told them to stay with him a while and then tell John what they saw.
This they did and when they returned to John they told him that they saw Jesus give sight to the blind, caused the lame to walk, lepers were healed, the dead brought back to life and the gospel was preached to the poor. When John heard this his faith was restored and was able to face his death in peace.
John realized that such a powerful demonstration of goodwill, which resulted in peace for himself, was a witness that Christ had indeed been born here upon the earth in the person of Jesus.
Even though Jesus went forth will goodwill he was often met with ill will. To such people, he taught of a response that was highly unusual in his day. He said, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
Taking goodwill to this extent was more than many could fathom, but a few took his words to heart and became his disciples. They saw many demonstrations of goodwill through his healings, but then came the time they saw the first real physical portent of peace. They were all on a ship together in the midst of a great storm. Fearing death they sought Jesus and found him peacefully sleep as the storm raged. They woke him and asked for help. He faced the storm and said “Peace, be still.” Because this Prince of Peace had perfect peace within him the winds and the waters obeyed and his words were followed by a perfect calm.
When he was facing death on the cross he told his disciples, “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.” John 14:27
Then after demonstrating power over death he appeared to them saying, “Peace be unto you.” John 20:19
Later, when speaking of this peace from Christ, Paul called it, “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding.” Phil 4:7
Indeed, the peace and goodwill predicted by the angels did start with one man, but that was just the beginning. Since the birth of Christ in Bethlehem there have been many others who have been inspired with the birth of the Christ spirit of peace and goodwill in their own hearts and have been doing all in their power to to transmute the friction among their brothers and sisters into peace.
In times like these many wonder where such people are, but they do exist and their numbers and strength are growing for those who have eyes to see.
All people, even the most troubled with ill will have a center within their hearts that can respond to peace and good will and one of the great lessons of Christmas is that we are all reminded of the Prince of Peace and his great words of goodwill. When listening to a Christmas carol even the most hardened heart is at times softened and feels a sliver of hope for the people of earth.
Let therefore all who see themselves as disciples of the Master focus on the good, the beautiful and the true, and become a point of light, goodwill and peace and stand in the love of God until every soul sees the light and the words of the angels become reality.
Peace, peace, my friends and goodwill to all. It is only a matter of time before peace will prevail on the earth. You and I can shorten that time by being points of light and love here and now.
Copyright by J J Dewey
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