“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men.”
I want to tell you about a problem I have when it comes to the traditional reading of the biblical Christmas story. On the surface, it seems like such a small issue. But when you really think about it, it’s pretty significant.
Traditionally, the Christmas story tells us in Luke 2:14 that the angels sang at the birth of Jesus, “… and on earth peace, good will among men.” That verse sounds good, and that’s probably how most people remember it. But the problem is, if that’s what the angels said, they were wrong. Jesus didn’t establish universal peace on earth. And there’s still a lot of not-so-goodwill toward men!
Well, as you can imagine, I don’t think the angels were wrong. But I do think that verse has been misread for many years. You see, if you really study what the angels sang that night, you’ll discover a much better translation of their song is “peace on earth among men of good favor.” That is, “peace on earth to men upon whom God has favor.”
The English Standard Version of the Bible puts it this way: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”
Do you see the difference? Those who have experienced God’s grace are the only ones who truly experience the peace of Christmas. It’s not a peace that does away with conflict, but a peace that exists despite conflict. And if you’re in Christ, that’s the peace you have today!
(To obtain a free copy of “The Cost of Christmas,” a 25-day advent devotional go to jackgraham.org, call 800-414-7693, or request it online at firstname.lastname@example.org.)