The First Christmas Carol
Glory to God in the highest
And on Earth peace,
Goodwill towards men! — Luke 2:14
We do not lack for Christmas songs. I love so many of them. However, I can’t stand when some musicians absolutely butcher my favorites. They use the correct words, but the original tune itself is unrecognizable. My favorite Christmas song is probably O Holy Night when it is sung beautifully and reverently. However, this morning I am reading the Christmas story from Luke 2 and I see that the Angels of Heaven should be given credit for the very first Christmas song. Let’s study the lyrics.
Glory to God in the highest.
The Angels up to this point have been with God for thousands and thousands of years. They have seen His throne as well as the splendor of Heaven. They constantly sing, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty who was and is and is to come.” They have seen and heard what our “eyes have not seen nor ears heard the things the Father has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9) We tend to think; at least I do, that we won’t really see the glory of God until we get to Heaven. Yet, the angels reveal to us that when Christ was born, higher in glory God could not go. Peer into the manger and behold God’s highest Glory!
And on Earth peace.
This has to have a dual meaning. At the macro level, there is certainly not peace. Nation is rising against nation, there are wars and rumors of wars, and news stories constantly consist of terrorist attacks, drug dealers, homicides, and just about every other atrocity imaginable. Yet, here these Angels come and pronounce “peace on Earth.” This could certainly be taken as purely prophetic since things are definitely not this way today. Yet one day, all who have put their hope in the Lord, trusted in Him, and have had their minds transformed by the renewing of their minds by the Gospel of Jesus Christ will live together in Glory. How I long for the day to live for Eternity with God’s people who truly love Him and truly love each other. One day, there will be peace on Earth.
So why would they say, “Peace on Earth,” when there obviously was no peace? Well, at the micro level, peace had instantly arrived. Because of the arrival of Jesus Christ, “whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life!” (John 3:16) Individuals can now have peace. Mary was carrying Jesus out of wedlock, a stone-able offense in her day. Joseph was hurt and wanted to leave her because as far as he was concerned, she cheated on him. Yet, the Angels convinced them both that this child was God’s child. It didn’t matter anymore what others thought, they now had peace in their hearts. Before Jesus spoke a word, He brought peace to His earthly parents.
I sit here today with total peace in my heart that I am His. He has made so many changes in my heart and life over these past 24 years. All of these changes have done nothing but add to the security and peace that I have in Him. How has He brought about peace in your life?
Goodwill towards men.
What a glorious day when a man or a woman figures out that God is good! I know we say it all the time, but do we believe it? It took me years to undo the notion that God was up there waiting for me to sin so He could send me to Hell. I can’t tell you the sleepless nights I had because I had sinned and thought, “If I should die before I wake, the journey to Hell my soul will make.” I had no clue that God changes people over time as they learn more and more about Him and His Word. I had no idea it would ultimately be His “Goodwill” and kindness that would break me and lead me to repentance.
You see, for several years I lived in the fear of the Lord. It is the fear of the Lord that starts it all and leads us towards repentance. I remember being constantly immoral and repeatedly asking for Him to forgive me. I could only hope like crazy that He would forgive me knowing that I would repeat my sin. I just didn’t know how to stop. Willpower just wasn’t getting it done.
Then, one day I decided that I would stop trying to quit sinning. I would take a year to simply focus on Him and read His Word. I had never read the whole Bible before. Somewhere in the middle of those 15 months of reading the Bible cover to cover, I was transformed. So many of the sins I was repenting of I couldn’t remember the last time I committed them. I didn’t even want to commit them. He had taken them away! I had transformed my mind by filling it with Him and His Word. It was amazing. I felt what true repentance was. I had used to repent and feel fear. Now I repented and felt gratitude. I realized for the first time God was good. He never gave me what I deserved. He gave me mercy and grace. From that day on, I served Him because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.
Well, I guess this has been a little longer than I usually write as Microsoft Word is telling me that it is quickly approaching a thousand words. I can’t believe I’ve been writing these things for over 6 years. I really can’t believe how many people read them. I just want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. Contemplate this first Christmas Carol in your heart. Think about Jesus and “Glory to God in the Highest.” Think about the peace you can have on this Earth because of Him. Think about how good he has been despite the fact that you haven’t always been good to Him.
He is Amazing!
He is Christ the Lord!