Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
On this Christmas morning, as I reflect on the Christmas story, the birth of Jesus, and the greatest gift ever given, I’m struck by the instructions given by the heavenly host just before departing the shepherds on that glorious night. Glory to God in the highest first… then peace and goodwill toward men.
How often Christmas becomes about the tree, the dinner, the presents, the in-laws. While certainly beautiful decorations and nice presents are fun,and gathering with family and friends can be nice, God instructs us to bring (at the least) two gifts on Christmas day, He doesn’t leave us guessing – We are to first give glory to Him for the wonder of Christ’s birth. That is our first focus on Christmas morning – praise and glory to His name for the gift given long ago.
After we give Him glory, we are to bring out the second gift – Peace and Goodwill to those around us. This is a choice and completely independent of whether anyone else shows up with their peace and goodwill or not! This is not a gift swap. This is a time for us to give regardless of what we receive.
This peace is to be to ALL, not just those we like. This Goodwill is to be to everyone, even the person who said ugly things about our sweater last year. The peace and goodwill is another worship to God. It is a second worship and, by it’s very practice, Gives Glory to God in the Highest! We are accomplishing the first command, while exercising the second command. It sounds oddly reminiscent of Matthew 22:37-39 – Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ We love God by loving others. We give glory to God when we love others.
Today, bring the two greatest gifts. Before anything else, Give Glory to God in the Highest. Then, continue to give Him glory and praise by bringing Peace on earth and Goodwill to all men and women, everywhere you roam.