Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hark Again!

Peace on earth and mercy mild . .

"Peace on earth" is one of the Biblical mantras taken up by the secular world. Who can argue with that aim, right? But in all honesty, it's a phrase that annoys me. (Or maybe it's just spillover annoyance from my currently stuffed-up head. Christmas spirit . . Christmas spirit . . ) It annoys me because people toss around the phrase so casually with no real consideration for what it would honestly take to have peace on earth. Let's be frank -- we don't even have peace in the church, and we're supposed to be the unified Body of Christ. Maybe I'm a pessimist, but I don't have a whole lot of hope for anything resembling what most people would define as peace on earth.

Yet, I still find the declaration of the herald angels to be comforting, because while I don't hold out much hope for the nations and peoples of the world to stop fighting, share a Coke, and live "in per-fect har-mo-nyyyyyy", I do have hope for Jesus to create peace in my own little tormented heart . . . and in my home . . . and in my family . . . and isn't it true, really, that that's where peace on earth would have to start? With individual men and women coming to peace with themselves and their God? May his mild, gentle mercy shower on us and give us peace!

God and sinners reconciled!

Hallelujah! I find this line to be a bit premature in a Christmas song, because the reconciliation really didn't happen until the cross, thirty-three years later. Nevertheless, all time is Present in God's economy, and at the moment of Jesus' birth, his resurrection was as good as accomplished. Sinners reconciled to their God! ME reconciled to my God! Once the decision to come to earth as a man was made, and the material body was inhabited, the commitment to the death on the cross was a done deal.

Joyful, all ye nations rise! Join the triumph of the skies!

Rise up JOYFUL! Every nation! The rich nations . . the poor nations . . the spiritually cold and the spiritually hot . . the stiff and formal . . the loud and enthusiastic . . the hungry and desperate . . the fattened and over-satisfied . . . ALL ye nations! Rise up joyful! Join the song of triumph -- TRIUMPH! Triumph is VICTORY, people! God and sinners reconciled is a grand and glorious victory!!

With the angelic hosts proclaim, "Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

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