Each year, during the Christmas season, I am reminded that several Christmas hymns and many Christmas cards fail to finish the Scripture passage that, summarized and condensed, begins “Peace on Earth, good will toward men … ”
It may seem insignificant to some, but I have grown more and more convicted to call Christians to finish the passage, because it IS significant. The angels did not sing/say, “Peace on Earth, good will toward men,” as though they were referring to all people. Luke 2:14 says, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (NASB) “… with whom He is pleased,” is a serious qualifying phrase. On any given day, God is clearly not pleased with every citizen of Earth, even among those calling themselves Christians.
The significance of this passage should call us to seek to be men, women and children with whom He is pleased. This is accomplished through study of His word (so we know what pleases Him); through consistent practice of his laws (He handed them down so we would understand what pleases Him – and what does not); and through the sharing of His gospel – the very gospel (good news) that the angels were heralding – to those who have not yet heard, so they can also seek to please Him.
As you journey through the coming year, let your “resolution” be to realize the significance of the angels’ qualifier, and to seriously seek to be a child of His with whom He can be pleased from day to day. There is no peace to be had by any other means. God, through the angels near Bethlehem, did not promise that there would be peace among all men on Earth – now, or ever. He did convey there and then that those with whom He is pleased could expect to experience peace.
Years ago, I wrote the little poem below. It seemed appropriate to include with this post – my “qualifier” for the day.
CAN GOD SMILE AS HE WATCHES ME?
When He studies the things that I do and say,
Will God wear a smile at the end of the day?
Will each word my mouth speaks make Him happy?
Will the actions I take make Him pleased?
Will He whisper, “Well done, my faithful child,”
Through the day as He watches me?
As He makes His review of my actions and words,
Will a smile light the face of my loving Lord?
Or will He sigh and shake His head
As the things I do break His heart instead?
Before you speak and before you act
As you journey through each day,
Ask yourself if your Heavenly Father approves
Honor Him as He leads the way!