"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14)
As this verse is rendered in the King James Version, it reflects some common misconceptions among the Jews of Jesus' day concerning the coming Messiah, as well as misconceptions of Christ's work in our lives today. The Jews believed that the Messiah would come in militant might to overthrow their enemies and establish a peaceful earthly kingdom. However, as Jesus himself taught, that was not his purpose.
"Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division." (Luke 12:51)
The peace that God brings through Christ is found in an inner work of the Holy Spirit, wrought in His children alone. More mysterious in nature and far more profound in its effect in the life of the believer than any earthly peace could be, this peace of heart, mind and soul cannot be found in any other fashion. Though circumstances all around may scream fear and panic, the one who has been given such peace can calmly look to God in trust. While keeping his eyes on his Lord, Peter was able to do the impossible, step out of the boat and walk across the waves to Jesus. It was only when his circumstances drew his focus away from the Savior that he begin to sink. And yet, even then, crying out for help, the Lord pulled him from the waters that threatened to drown him. (Matt 14:25-31)
I have had many opportunities to learn this lesson from my loving and merciful Heavenly Father. Psalm 139 has been a particular comfort to me as it has taught me that God is with me no matter where I am or how lonely or afraid I feel. My feelings can be particularly untrustworthy- but I know for a FACT that my God is Good, and that he exercises Sovereign control over all that happens. All.
I therefore find within my heart a peace that no amount of sunshine and flowers has been able to plant, and no amount of thundering storms can wash away.
"...do not be anxious about anything,B)"> but in everything by prayer and supplicationC)"> with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. AndD)"> the peace of God,E)"> which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Philippians 4:5-8)
And so once again to our "Christmas passage",
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:14) [ESV this time]
So, though today I face circumstances that would have me bound in fear and uncertainty, I am able instead to focus on my true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy Lord and sing with the angels today, Glory to God in the highest!