“Glory to God in the highest! And on earth, peace to men on whom His favor rests.” (Luke 2:14 NIV)

That’s what the angels thundered across the glowing sky as they announced Jesus’ birth near Bethlehem.

As a man on whom God’s favor rests, I wonder if this reality leads my heart to a place of peace?

(All too often, I know it doesn’t–I’ve always got something to try to manage or take control of myself because, at least temporarily, it helps me to “feel better” in my everyday bursts of busyness).

God favors me?  Ridiculous!

But I think if I gave this angelic Advent declaration more credence, the wars within me might just cease.  If I would just receive God’s great favor for me with open hands–to embrace the fact that He came so close from so far to personally show His love, forgiveness and grace  to me.  This inner kind of quiet heart transformation is the kind of peace Jesus came to offer.  I think we get it wrong sometimes.  We think Jesus came to bring peace on earth–which he will someday when He comes again to make all things new–but that night in Bethlehem the angels declared that Jesus came to bring His Advent peace to my heart, to flesh-and-blood people first.

It’s been awhile since I’ve quoted lyrics in my blog, though I usually use them to make a point.  This time it’s more of a counter-point.  Bono’s a complicated, conflicted man (as am I…), yet I appreciate his frustration and what I believe to be his genuine faith in Christ.  My good friend Julian recommended this bio of Bono to me recently.  It’s a very interesting, inspiring read.   A few years ago, Bono wrote this song, which mourns the fact that Jesus hasn’t delivered on His promise to bring “peace on earth”.  Maybe you feel like Bono did this Christmas season.  I’d encourage you to see it a little differently…

“Heaven on Earth
We need it now
I’m sick of all of this
Hanging around
Sick of sorrow
I’m sick of the pain
I’m sick of hearing
Again and again
That there’s gonna be
Peace on Earth
Jesus can you take the time
To throw a drowning man a line
Peace on Earth
To tell the ones who hear no sound
Whose sons are living in the ground
Peace on Earth
Jesus in this song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth
Hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won’t rhyme
So what’s it worth
This peace on Earth”

I admire Bono’s  honesty and would agree that the Church itself has caused its fair share of wars on this earth.  I can’t see the big picture of everything God’s up to.  Jesus came to bring Peace on earth?  Yes.  Someday…

But let’s start with my own heart.  This drowning man has all the line he needs–the peace of Christ within is the greatest possession I own–my pearl of great price.  So I choose to undeservedly receive Christ’s rich favor and welcome His peace to reign and rule in my heart.  And I hope you will, too.

God’s richest peace this Advent season…