“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”~Luke 2:14
We hear this phrase in both word and song throughout the holiday season, but do we understand what its implications are? What did the angles mean when they were saying this 2000 years ago? We certainly don’t have world peace. There are people out there now plotting the deaths of innocent people. With all the strife and stress of everyday life how can we have good will toward other people? Why is it we have the gift of giving only once a year? One of my favorite Christmas songs is Where are you Christmas by Faith Hill. Here are some of the words:
“Where are you Christmas
Why can’t I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can’t I hear music play
My world is changing
Does that mean Christmas changes too?”
That is the sad of it and a lot of truth in those words. For many Christmas means loss, for others it’s a reminder of a terrible time in their lives. Why can a celebration of life bring such sadness and sorrow? It can if we let it. Let’s pull some truth from the above scripture and gather some insight on how Christmas should be.
The first part of the verse says glory to God in the highest. To find the peace at Christmas we have to do three things, prepare, pray, and praise. When we glorify God in the highest it’s through reading and studying His word. We can prep for glory by doing that one thing. The next is talking to God through prayer. Remember prayer is not a God to do list for your needs or wants, it’s a praising Him, thanking Him, confessing to Him, praying first for others, then yourself type of thing. The third and final thing is praise Him by living a life of love and gratitude. Remember gratitude is the attitude that keeps on giving all year long. A heart that is thankful is always a giving heart. Every year since I have been married to my wife we have gone to look at Christmas lights around our city, this year yielded less than stellar results. We were missing my father in-law that would do all the driving. No matter how normal we try and make things after loss, it’s never the same as it once was. The key here is to glorify God through the pain and the loss and keep the consistency of praise. We can glorify God because we know that my father in-law is all healed up and in a way better place right now. That continued glory gives us peace.
When we fully glorify God, He gives us peace on earth. That doesn’t mean world peace, it means peace in our hearts. As long as evil exists in the world there will never be world peace. I know that doesn’t sound encouraging, but it’s truth. The encouraging thing we can have is peace beginning in our hearts. When we have that godly peace in our hearts it gives us favor with God and that’s our next part of the verse.
Favor is the direct result of peace in our hearts. Webster’s says: Kind regard; countenance; propitious aspect; friendly disposition. I like the last words, friendly disposition. God becomes our friend when we glorify Him. I can truthfully say that my life is so much better when I started spending time glorifying God every day. I am not saying this is not a struggle for me to do every day, it is. I am human after all, but my day is so much better when I start out glorifying God. This blog is an extension of that glorifying factor. When I write these things down, and share it with you I can feel God smiling down at me.
How does this all translate into Christmas? When we glorify God, we find peace in our lives and we have God’s favor, that favor is passed on to others in the form of love. The last part of the lyrics of the song Where are You Christmas answers the question it asked at the start of the song:
“If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time
Oh, I feel you Christmas
I know I’ve found you
You never fade away, oh
The joy of Christmas
Stays here inside us
Fills each and every heart with love.”
The favor of God helps us to pass on love to others. If we keep this going like the song says; “You will fill like Christmas all the time.” It’s awesome to get gifts, but the best gift of all is giving of your time, talents, and treasure. Finding the peace at Christmas begins with glorifying God, finding that peace, accepting God’s favor and passing that favor on in the form of love. Christmas is a celebration of life, the start of the life that has saved us all, Jesus who gave it all for us. Why not make Christmas all the time and give that favor back to others? That is how you find the peace at Christmas.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple] 2016