"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14, NIV)
“Peace on earth and good will to men!” is a line from a popular contemporary Christmas song. The combination of music and lyrics catches our attention. The idea that there can be “peace on earth” taps into the yearning of our human hearts. We long for peace in a world that is full of unrest, making peace and good will more like far-off concepts for another time and for another world.
Yet, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I know that peace and good will are possible. The phrase, “Peace on earth and good will to men” originates from an old traditional Christmas hymn based on the story of Jesus’ birth. One passage that refers to this phrase is in Luke 2:14, where it says, “and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Verses 13 and the rest of 14 give a context for this passage. They talk about the angel who appeared to the shepherds out in the field, announcing the birth of the Savior. At the end of the announcement, “a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’”
In this heavenly announcement of the birth of Jesus, the peace that God extends to a lost human race is also proclaimed. The birth of Jesus demonstrated the peace that God extended toward you and me, redeeming us. He has made peace with mankind—with you and with me. We can have peace in the midst of a chaotic world, then, knowing that God’s favor rests on us.
During this Christmas season, may we reflect on what peace with God can mean to us and to the world around us.
Dear Father, we pray that You would help us understand the peace You have extended to us and live our lives accordingly. And in living out the peace that is from You, may we be a beacon of hope for others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
- Linda Martin (Cree), Manitoba, Canada
Linda (Cree) and Rick Martin minister to First Nations people across Canada and United States through Christian counseling and music. They are regularly requested to present at various conferences on abuse issues. Read about some of their ministry outreach here.