–December of 2005
Peace on Earth
The Advent season summons the Church away from its normal activity to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Christian pilgrims from around the world will descend upon the ancient town of Bethlehem. Manger square will be filled with the sounds of Christmas carols, the reverent tones of public prayers, and the glow of a thousand candles.
Most of us in America will celebrate Christmas watching our children parade timidly in front of church congregations, re-enacting the Christmas story. We will all smile proudly, nod our affirmation vigorously, and join with these little ones as they sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).
The words “peace on earth” will slip by most of us without notice. Yet the cynic, as well as the serious saint, will recognize that the world has not found the formula for peace. The god of war continues to stalk up and down the earth, threatening men and nations with bloodshed and destruction. Terrorism has robbed law abiding people of any sense of security. The Middle East is a boiling cauldron of tension, spilling over in outbreaks of violence. Here in America broken-hearted families will stare at empty chairs this Christmas because of loved ones who lost their lives in the war in Iraq.
The god of this world also goes about seeking whom he may devour. He has wrought havoc in a world now haunted by demons, disease, and death. Sin has ruined men by violence and squalor, misery and hatred. Stress and tension fill our homes and destroy our health. The piercing words of the prophet, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked,” are painfully accurate.
Is there any hope for meaningful peace in our world? Can men find calm in the midst of such chaos? Oh yes! The Prince of Peace has offered it and millions of souls have found it. But it can be realized only in obedience to the divine formula for peace. The divine formula is expressed in the form of a cross. Paul said, “He has made peace through the blood of His cross.” The cross of Christ has made inner peace possible now. It can bring about an end to the inner warfare and outward misery of any man’s life.
The prospects of world peace look dim to those who gaze with a temporal eye. But the Savior who came as a babe in Bethlehem’s manger will one day return as a conquering King. He will put all enemies under His feet and bring to pass a reign of “peace on earth, good will toward men.”