Glory to God, peace on earth, and goodwill toward men

“Peace on earth, goodwill toward men!” is proclaimed a lot this time of year. Many find it comforting and familiar. Hopeful, even. Yet, once I heard it cynically stated, “Maybe if we started with goodwill toward men, we’d get to peace on earth more quickly, as opposed to waiting for peace on earth before having goodwill toward men.” “Yes, that’s right,” I heartily agreed. “We have to start with goodwill toward one another.”

Of course a spirit of goodwill toward our fellow men and women impels peace. But recently I have realized the value of not forgetting the first half of the Bible verse this phrase comes from. As the account goes, it’s actually something angels said to the shepherds who were in the fields with their sheep that remarkable night of Jesus’ birth. The full message goes like this: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). The oh-so-important implication is that if we want to see greater peace on earth and goodwill toward men, we have to start with giving glory to God. There’s no skipping the beginning if we want to get to the end.

A year-round prayer and promise
December 24, 2018

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