Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas! This is a busy season; maybe the busiest of the year. But this isn’t unique to 2016. The first Christmas was busy, too.

Can you picture Bethlehem on the night Jesus was born? I imagine people elbow-to-elbow, bumping against each other as they navigate the narrow streets. The smell of fresh bread wafts through the air. A bright star shines overhead. People talk, argue, and laugh.

But there’s another part of this story – the story of the shepherds. Sheep are snuggled up together on the hillside while shepherds sit around a fire. There were no electric lights in town to create an orange glow. The sky would’ve been blue-black. Perhaps the shepherds wondered about the bright star over Bethlehem.

Then, all of a sudden, a gleaming angel and radiant light exploded all around them. An angel spoke directly to the shepherds, telling them that the long-awaited savior of Israel had been born. Then a whole army of angels appeared, saying, “’Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.’” (Luke 2:14 NLT)

I would think that event broke the peace of the evening and sent a shot of energy through their veins. I imagine them running full speed into Bethlehem looking for the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. After they saw Jesus, they told everyone. I’m sure they talked about that night for the rest of their lives.

The angel said, “Peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” This is the New Living Translation. I’m partial to the King James Version of this story, but the New Living Translation is much clearer to my 21st-century ears. I imagine the tranquility of the night, while broken by the angels and their announcement, was restored in a different sense after the shepherds saw baby Jesus. They must have been flooded with joy and excitement. I’m sure the knowledge that the Messiah had been born gave them great peace. And knowing they had been chosen to hear the news first must’ve blown them away.

I hope you’ll take time to read Luke 2:1-20 this week. And while Christmas is a busy season, whether in the first century or the 21st century, Jesus brings peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased. With whom is God pleased? Those who give their lives to Jesus, today and eternally.

Support Our Troops got a big shot in the arm from the greater Meadville area. Thirty people packed a total of 180 boxes for our servicemen and women. Community members donated 95 dozen homemade cookies. Fallowfield bakers contributed many of these cookies. What a blessing to be part of such a worthy cause.

Fallowfield United Methodist Church members are planning to go Christmas caroling at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 19. We’ll meet at the church at 5:30 p.m. and sing to shut-ins and those who are ill in our community. It’s so much fun.

Fallowfield’s Christmas Eve service is at 7 p.m. If you don’t have a church family, please join us.

And, of course, if you’d like to join us for worship on Christmas Day, our service is at 9 a.m. You’re more than welcome.

I wish you all God’s blessings this Christmas.