And on Earth Peace, Good Will toward Men
Sunday, 20 December 2015
An extract from Bible Witness, Vol. 5, Issue 6 (Nov-Dec 2005)
The birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by the virgin Mary in a manger was celebrated by the announcement of an angel and a big choir of heavenly host praising God in the Highest. So we hold special praise services during Christmas to commemorate His first coming.
To further celebrate this event, the angel extended the message of goodwill to the whole world, “And on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). Because the Saviour had now come, God the Father was so happy that He proclaimed an amnesty to us sinners, so that if we turn to Him, He would forgive all our sins and receive us back to Himself.
Christmas is “Glory to God”. Christmas is “Good will toward men”. When Christmas comes round once a year, the whole world rejoices and the amnesty offer is extended once again to those who have never heard of the Saviour.
How can we extend the glad message of salvation to those who have never heard it? One very convenient way is through members of our church – if only you would bring a new friend, yea, even a member of your extended family, to our Christmas Service.
When you bring your friends to church for the Christmas praise service, tell them that Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He was born of the virgin Mary in a manger in the Holy Land – God’s Son becoming man that He might suffer for our sins. He was crucified and buried. On the third day, He rose again that we believing in Him would not die but live forever and ever. This is the everlasting life we, Christians, have found, and so we celebrate His miraculous birth. If you believe in Him, you will receive that everlasting life. Don’t you feel that heavenly touch by the singing of the carols?
Many years ago, the towkay of Yick Woh Watch Company in North Bridge Road came to join our church. How he became a Christian was through the singing of carols one Christmas eve. A group of carol singers sang so sweetly outside his shophouse that he felt the angels were singing to him. He received Jesus into his heart and was saved!
The world celebrates Christmas, not worshipfully for the birth of Jesus Christ, but by making merry and getting drunk for their own enjoyment. In their hearts, however, there is sorrow and sadness, fear and frustration. Christians in many parts of the world are praying in fear of terrorists’ attacks. The world situation is getting from bad to worse, not to talk of international relations. There is no peace in this world outside Jesus Christ, not even between two most intimate persons like husband and wife, mother and son.
A Singapore couple migrated to Perth, but a new country did not hold them together. The couple’s marriage almost went on the rocks. Fortunately, husband and wife repented and returned to the Lord Jesus Christ and so their marriage was saved. The husband said to me, “Today, you see couples going in and out. They appear happy outwardly, but most of them are on the point of breaking down.” Is that the situation with you, especially when familiarity breeds contempt? You need to hear Paul’s triple admonition, “Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33), to revive your marriage. The love and peace of Jesus Christ can heal your virtually brokendown marriage. Will you make peace with each other and for Jesus’ sake?
There is no peace between husband and wife; there is no peace between mother and son! An old lady complained to me of the lack of filial piety towards her after her son got married. He used to support her with $300 a month; but after marriage, he reduced it to $200 even though his combined salary with his wife was about $7,000! Here is a lesson to sons. Giving support to your aged parents is part of Jesus’ teaching. Giving support to our aged parents must be done willingly and lovingly. Otherwise, as a Chinese saying goes, it is “no better than taking care of dogs and horses”. This Christmas, let unfilial sons and daughters search their hearts and return as loving children to gladden their parents’ hearts. Let the peace and goodwill of your Saviour reign in your hearts.
“On earth peace, good will toward men” is offered to the Church. How many churches are split? If we submit to the Lordship of our Saviour and realise how many times (yea, even beyond “seventy times seven”) He has forgiven us, we will have no recourse but to forgive one another.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Admittedly, this timely Christmas offer to a warring world will not be heeded – if a nuclear war breaks out, nobody has the power to restrain it from spreading. But Christians are for peace and we must not cease from praying for God’s peace and goodwill offered to all mankind. ■