Numbers 25:1-18; Luke 2:1-20; Psalms 60:1-5; Proverbs 16:12-13
NT: “Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn son, and she wrapped him tightly in cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today in the city of David a Savior was born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors!” (Luke 2:4-14 CSB)
This, of course, is the well known account of Jesus’ birth. Joseph, along with Mary, had to travel from Galilee to Bethlehem to be registered in his city of origin. While they were there, Mary went into labor. Because all of the guest rooms in the town were full, she gave birth in a stall and laid Jesus in a manger. At the same moment, Heaven announced the glorious arrival of the Son of God to a group of lowly shepherds who were camped out in the fields as they cared for their sheep. Jesus later referred to Himself as the good shepherd. He was also to be known as the Lamb slain for the sin of the world. It was no mistake that the Angels appeared to shepherds watching their flock of lambs (some of which would probably be used as sacrifices at the temple). The message of the angel was to the shepherds, but it was for the whole world. It was a message of good news and great joy… that God had sent a savior for all mankind… and as the chorus of angels proclaimed, this Savior would bring peace on earth and God’s favor to those who place their faith in Him. People may look around at the world and say, if Jesus came to bring peace, He didn’t do a very good job. One thing we can definitely see all around us is a lack of peace. Jesus Himself later said that as we grow closer and closer to the end of days, wars and rumors of wars will increase… there will be a lack of peace in the world. The peace He brings on earth is to men (and women) who place their faith in Him and allow their minds to be renewed by His Holy Spirit. Those people will have peace in the midst of unrest… and because they have peace, they can make peace with others through the grace of God. Peace comes to earth through people who are at peace because they have been transformed by the Prince of Peace. Am I… are we willing to have our thought patterns and deep seeded fears and anxieties transformed by the renewing power of the Holy Spirit as we fully submit ourselves to God and present ourselves to Him for His service? True peace can’t be forced. It can’t be legislated. It can only come as we allow ourselves to be transformed into people who are truly at peace… and only God through Christ can do that.