I wrote my friend and brother Steven Khoury this morning. He pastors in Bethlehem and East Jerusalem. It is Christmas Eve evening there and I'm sure a large group of pilgrims are crowding Manger Square. At the same time there are protests over the wall Israel built to make it more difficult for terrorists to bomb them. Peace. Baghdad was rocked with numerous explosions yesterday following the US withdrawal. Peace on Earth. Fights break out in shopping centers over Air Jordan shoes. Peace on Earth, Good will toward Men. Seems the message of the angels got lost somewhere along the way.
But we ought not lose hope. On my Facebook page you can connect to a Christmas eve account from a POW camp. It shows that when all is stripped away, and others may even be trying to strip away your humanity, the hope of the Christ child is still alive. We Christians ought not be surprised by the events of the world. We've been told this is what will happen as we progress toward the end. We live as lights in the growing darkness, glowing as bright as the star that led the Wise Men, pointing to the only source of hope for the world.
And the promises of God stand firm, the firm foundation for our hope. And Israel's. Listen to God's word through Ezekiel while he was in a POW camp:
I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. 27 My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”
Since 1948 God has been bringing the Jews back from amongst the nations. He has caused them to stand against all odds. There is a day coming when His sanctuary will be established once again in Jerusalem. Then all the nations will see the hand of the Lord has fulfilled His promises and secured the peace on earth. Until that day, we proclaim a message of peace on the earth. Not a political or military peace, but a holistic peace in the hearts of men and women, fueled by a hope that no one can take away.
It is my prayer that all who read these words have experienced that peace personally. Merry Christmas.