This season of Advent, beginning the first day of December, is full of the JOY of the Lord! What could be more wonderful than the Good News that the Savior is born, that God himself has come to Earth as the Messiah? The great prophesies are fulfilled, including these profound and awesome words of Isaiah:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
Such fullness! Such joy! What a tremendous cause for celebration. For all of us. The great grace of Jesus’ birth for us cannot be compared with any other birth. Thanks be to God!
The great grace of Jesus’ birth is described in different ways in the four Gospel stories. The memorable message sung by the mammoth choir of angels, recorded by Dr. Luke, seems especially relevant this year, 2013. “Glory to God in the Highest, and peace on Earth among people of good will.” (Luke 2:14) With the rising violence against Christians in several parts of the world – and the increasing divisiveness and degradation of life in America, too – we all need to sing the angels’ song in our time and place, and within our behaviors and beliefs.
To some people, there is a contradiction in the storied angels’ song. How could there be so much violence on Earth when the angels already said centuries ago, “Peace on Earth”? If the angels announced peace, why is there so much persecution of religious people? Why does that persecution most especially target the very followers of the Savior about whose birth the angels sang so powerfully? And if the mass choir of angels also brought hope, how could there be so much horror to so many?