The Good News of Christmas was first announced by the angels as a message of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. For many of us, those words immediately cause familiar Christmas hymns to pop into our heads. But what kind of peace were the angels announcing? And who’s goodwill was being extended? Today’s reading encourages you to consider the difference between the peace and goodness announced by worldly powers (Rome at that time) and the gospel that came with the birth of Christ.
- Luke 2:15-20
- Watch for the Light, 236-240
- As a modern American it is extremely difficult for us to understand how the world looked to first century Jews whose land and lives were controlled strictly by the foreign Roman rulers. But take a minute to let your imagination run free after reading pages 238-239. Putting yourself in the shoes of a common Jewish household at that time, how do you think you would reacted to the news of Messiah’s birth, a new king who was born to save his people? What hopes and expectations would you have had for this Rescuer?
- Now turn that same question to your anticipation of Christ’s second coming. What hopes and expectations do you long to see fulfilled when He returns? Are you longing for peace? for justice? for joy? How do you think your desires and expectations compare to the hopes of your Christian brothers and sisters living in poor or highly restricted countries?
Spend your time in prayer today lifting up your Christian brothers and sisters living in poverty or living in places where they worship Jesus under the threat of persecution. Pray for their joy and strength in faith, that they may find hope in the promise of Christ’s return and salvation that will help them thrive in difficult places. Next, pray the same prayer for yourself and your church family. May God grant us a joyful faith that endures all trials as we look in hope to the soon coming of our King!