In 4 B.C. Mary and Joseph had their first Christmas together. Augustus was Emperor and Herod was the king. While Herod killed the baby boys below the age of two in Bethlehem, Rome celebrated that they had brought peace to the world. The Latin phrase Pax Romana means “Roman Peace.” When Augustus used the phrase about his empire, he meant that the fame and glory of his greatness had overcome the toils and suffering of the past years. Meanwhile, the mothers in Bethlehem mourned.
Every year we sing about peace on earth and good will to men. Meanwhile, wars begin, end, and then return in a form. 129 people died in Paris from the ISIS attacks. And, here in America, terrorists brutally murder Christian people because of who they are.
Yet, as mourning continues, Christian people all across the United States will step into Christmas Eve service Thursday and sing, “Peace on earth, good will to men.”
On Christmas, we remember Christ as the one whose death on the cross is sufficient to cover all sins. The cross gives us as Christians our spine to stand in every situation. However, our boldness is not measured by our concealed carry permits or the anger with which we express ourselves in political debates. Instead, we show our courage by recognizing the power of Christ’s advent. To those who perpetrated the horrific crimes in Paris, San Bernadino, and Colorado we cry out that Christ’s death is sufficient for them and their sins. Let the murderers be washed clean. To those who are afraid in this uncertain world we can say that Christ’s resurrection gives us victory over death. To those abused by an unfair institutional system we offer the hope that Christ’s second coming will give justice to the oppressed. The reason why we sing about peace on earth in a war torn world is because the cross is already enough to guarantee that every wrong will be put to rights.
Moreover, this Christmas, let us make Christ look beautiful by the way we patiently hope for his coming. As we sing this year, our hope will mix with longing. However, give fear and anger no foothold because such a stance does not become the adopted children of the king.