Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Where Can We Find Peace And Goodwill?

Where can “peace and goodwill” be found? It’s not merely a biblical cliché or a line in a Christmas tune anymore. Fictitiously, when the Grinch stole Christmas, the people still celebrated because “Christmas was in their hearts” not under the tree. That’s easy for them to say. They only had their presents and Christmas trees taken from them, not their children. Such heartwarming fiction dissipates when you have your children taken from you. Americans are desperately searching for peace. Even outspoken conservative pundits who typically rush to the microphone with solutions to America’s problems have admitted that they don’t have all the answers. Is it too late to find peace and goodwill? The nation with the strongest military in the world finds itself brought to its knees by inner struggles rather than foreign attacks.

A multitude of angels announced that peace and goodwill from God had been sent. So where do we find it? Peace cannot be found in politics. Mary and Joseph found first-hand that government leaders tend care more about preserving their power than anything else. The angels’ announcement was delivered to a nation in turmoil and captivity. Years of captivity had humiliated the Jews - people who knew they were supposed to be chosen of God; but God seemed to show them no favor. Every insurrection attempting to free themselves ended in more bloodshed. They were searching for peace. After the angels’ proclamation of peace, Herod turned his entire province into a Newtown when he slaughtered all the baby boys. Scripture tells us that Ramah was “weeping for her children and would not be comforted.” Even the Jews’ own leaders failed to show goodwill toward them. Crooked religion became the tool to enslave common people with legalistic requirements that bolstered the Pharisee’s power and failed to meet the spiritual needs of the people.

Peace not only fails to be found in politics, neither can it be found in popular belief. The people voted to crucify peace and goodwill. The ones longing for deliverance crucified their only hope for salvation. Christ promoted spiritual change, not political change. He did not deliver on their terms, so He was rejected. Consequently, Israel failed to find its independence. After the time of Christ, the temple was destroyed while poverty and captivity ensued. Their stubborn, human logic had obstructed peace and goodwill.

Does this sound familiar? Politicians fail to alleviate society’s unrest, leaders focus on self-preservation, the people vote to remove Christ’s influence, and uninformed, short-sighted ideas captivate mainstream thinking.
Where can peace and goodwill be found? In Christ. When the angels announced the coming of peace and goodwill, they were declaring the only One who can bring peace, and He came as a goodwill gift from heaven. Zechariah proclaimed that the Dayspring - the dawn of a new day – would arrive in Israel. A new day has been offered, but the gift from heaven requires acceptance.

Rather than placing peace and goodwill on your “grown-up Christmas list” of fanciful, utopian ideas, place yourself before the Prince of Peace who has already come. Bow before Him. Reverence Him. Make Him your king. You don’t have to wait on political action or public approval. Christ is heaven’s goodwill gift of peace. There’s no need to look relentlessly for Him. You’ll find Him on your knees.