Tag Archives: goodwill

Peace and goodwill – Part II

High on the list of popular Christmas wishes are these beloved words from the song of the angels on the night Christ was born : On earth peace, goodwill toward men.  In my last post I focussed on the first part of that phrase – the declaration of peace.  Today I want to follow up with some thoughts on goodwill.

Goodwill – it’s a feel-good word.   According to Dictionary.com, the literal meaning of goodwill is friendly disposition; benevolence; kindness.  If I say I have goodwill towards you, it means that I am inclined to be friendly towards you, to give you the benefit of the doubt and to treat you favourably.

And that’s what Jesus’ birth means for us!

It means that God is inclined to be friendly towards us.   Newsflash – God is not your enemy!  We do have an enemy – the Devil – whose agenda is to steal, kill, and destroy.   His main scheme is to stay undercover, hide his identity, and deceive us into thinking that God is out to get us.   He’s been doing this ever since the Garden of Eden and it’s been a very effective approach as many people have bought into the lie that God is their enemy and have chosen to live life independently.  But the amazing, wonderful truth is that God is willing to be our friend – if we will let Him.   Instead of punishing us for rejecting His ways, He has come into our world in the person of the peace child, Jesus, born to set us free and lead us into our destiny – the glory of God.

It means that God gives us the benefit of the doubt when we mess up.  Well, actually, better than that.  There is never any doubt in God’s mind about our wrongdoings and slip-ups; He sees everything!  And yet, our amazing God has found a way to be both just and merciful.  He did this by coming into the world as the Messiah Jesus to be a perfect offering for our sins.  And so God does better than give us the benefit of the doubt when we mess up.  He takes the hit for us, places the burden on the shoulders of our burden-bearer Jesus, so that we can go free.

It means that God treats us favourably – that He is on our side, for us and not against us.  It is true that if we continue to live independently of God, there will be painful consequences because we were never intended to live that way.  But we can know the Lord’s lasting favour, living a life full of joy and purpose, destined for God’s glory, if we will surrender our independence and accept God’s peace child – Jesus, the Messiah, born in the humblest of circumstances in a dirty, smelly manger, but destined to rule all heaven and earth.

Enjoy the good news – God is for you.  His will is to bless you.  Merry Christmas!


Peace and goodwill – Part I

Everyone wants peace.   We want peace in our relationships – peace in our marriages, peace with our children and our parents, our sisters and brothers, peace with the people that matter most to us.   We want peace in our communities – safety in our streets and freedom from drug addiction, violence and poverty.   We want peace and unity in our beautiful nation and an end to the partisan bickering that has marred our national politics lately.   We want peace among the nations in our world.

Some may wonder, if God is good then why doesn’t He do something – why doesn’t He answer our prayers and bring us peace.   But the wonderful news is that God has done something.  When the angels announced the birth of Christ 2000 years ago, and sang those memorable words “peace on earth, goodwill toward men“, they were proclaiming that Jesus is God’s peace child, who would offer His life to make peace between God and humanity.   Because of Jesus, peace is possible.

I remember when I first met Al.  I was 43 years old at the time and had gone back to school to learn how to be a programmer.  Al was 10 years my senior and had been down a rough road in life, going through a divorce and battling addictions.  He had been in the software trade and had done very well, but had burnt out.  Now he was hoping for a fresh start.   We had coffee together and I began to listen to his story.  I still remember his poignant words : “I just want a little peace”.  Months later, in my living room, he surrendered control of his life to Jesus Christ and began to learn to walk with God.  After one particularly significant time of prayer I remember him telling me that for the first time since he could remember, he felt peaceful.  Al was discovering the peace that Jesus gives – like nothing else he had ever known.

All other forms of peace, as desireable as they are, can only endure if they are rooted in peace with God.  The Bible says that the core reason we have conflicts is because we all want our own way.  Jesus’ birth represents God’s offer of peace to a broken, battered, weary world.

My Christmas wish for you – and for me

This Christmas my most heartfelt wish for you is that you will rediscover,  or discover for the very first time, the peace that comes from welcoming God’s gift of the Messiah, Jesus, and surrendering control of your life to Him.  May your heart be full of the joy of knowing that you are loved by the One who made heaven and earth, and that your life has an eternal purpose.   Merry Christmas!