A short reading and prayer for today
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.
Luke 2:13-14 NLT
The shepherds received the news of Jesus’ birth from a single angel who was then joined by a vast crowd of angels to sing an amazing chorus of praise. The language used recalls Job 38.7 where when God created the world “the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” With the coming of Jesus into the world there is a new creation and so the whole population of heaven needed to join together in bringing a triumphant act of worship. I am sure that artists through the centuries have been right to depict the whole sky being alight as the angels sang their praises to the surprised shepherds.
The message of the angelic host is interesting and it begs the question, “Who are the people with whom God is pleased?” It’s not an expression that we often find in the New Testament but it reminds us of the words from heaven that were spoken over Jesus at his baptism. “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3.22 NIV) God’s peace is the experience of those who walk in the footsteps of Jesus. It is by aligning ourselves with Jesus’ teaching and being filled with his Spirit that we are able to experience God’s peace.
The Christmas message needs to give us all a new determination to experience God’s peace for ourselves and to share it with our agonisingly unpeaceful world. We will achieve nothing by complaining about the world’s lack of peace. We must simply seek to live in the light of it and take opportunities to point to Jesus, so that others have the opportunity to taste his peace for themselves.
Where will you be able to share God’s peace today?
Loving God, I want you to be pleased with my life. Help me to live closer and closer to Jesus each day. Amen
Photo – St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem