by Dr. Lonnie Wascom
I was thinking about the lyric crafted by American poet Longfellow not long after the end of the War Between the States, “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day,” and how each stanza ends: “Of peace on earth, good will to men.” And this reminded me of the message delivered by the angels to the shepherds recorded in Luke 2:14, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. My New Testament Greek prof, Dr. Fred Fisher, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, said a better translation would state it like this one from the International Children’s Bible: “Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people who please God.” “Peace” is tied to the phrase “people who please God.” And you and I have the privilege, the opportunity if you will, to communicate and display the love of Christ to everyone “on earth” in order that God’s desire for all people to be saved will be fulfilled, thereby pleasing Him and giving believers His peace, the “peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). God states His desire this way through the Apostle Paul: This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
We who have received the greatest gift of all, the “free gift of God . . . eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b) can, and must, share that gift with everyone. I certainly want to do that and I know you do as well.
May God richly bless you and give you His peace this Christmas and always.
Dr. Lonnie Wascom is Director of Missions for the Northshore Baptist Association. The NSBA is a network of 90 churches serving communities from Holden to Slidell along the I-12 Corridor in Southeast Louisiana. Bridge Church is a member of the Northshore Baptist Association. Check them out at NorthshoreBaptists.net.