It’s Christmas Eve. The last week of Advent this year will last only two days. All four candles of the Advent Wreath burn brightly as the days before Christmas draw near. The Feast of the Nativity is celebrated on December 25 when the Christ candle (white center candle) is lit for just one day.
Peace is definitely what this earth needs most this Christmas. Americans have been crushed by the horrific tragedy that occurred in an elementary school this 2012 Advent season. On everyone’s hearts and minds we wonder, “How will the loved ones of innocent children and teachers cope this Christmas?” At the Newton, Connecticut, memorial, President Obama spoke these words of truth: “We know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans. There is only one thing we can be sure of and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other…A love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger. We know that’s what matters…That is what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us, that’s how you’ve inspired us…That is what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this earth.”
I know it’s Christmas Eve, and we all want to think of happy thoughts. We don’t want to be insensitive to those who are sad today; yet we don’t want to feel bad for feeling happy. There’s an answer for us all in the words the Angels sang to the shepherds: Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14).
There is no peace without glorifying God in the highest and realizing that, in spite of the tragedies and hardships we face, His favor rests fully and completely on us! Yes, that is hard to feel at times—most especially if your Christmas season was interrupted by something as catastrophic as senseless massacres like the one that happened in Connecticut and the one that happened during the time of the birth of Jesus. One of the caves under the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Israel, is a chapel dedicated to the Innocents—those young babes in Bethlehem under the age of two whom King Herod massacred senselessly in his attempts to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His purpose of bringing peace to the earth. The Church Calendar includes a Feast Day for the Innocents on December 29.
On this Christmas Eve if peace is easy to feel in the circumstances In which you find yourself, give glory to God in the highest with the angels! If your circumstances are closing in on you in a unique way because it is Christmas, know that you are not alone and believe the angel’s message. Enjoy your peace and pray for those whose peace is fleeting this Christmas.
The key to a Merry Christmas is to glorify God in the highest and recognize that He has indeed brought peace and favor to the inhabitants of earth in a world-changing way that began at Christmas.