"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:14
That sounds so simple, doesn't it? The very first Christmas, all those years ago, and the angel of the Lord specifically says "on earth peace, goodwill toward men". Here we are over 2000 years later, and peace on earth still seems like a figment of our imagination. My heart breaks this morning as I headed over to the news headlines and saw that communities in Iraq have cancelled Christmas celebrations, because they feared attacks from Al Qaeda. It wasn't that long ago and the idea of Christmas wasn't available to these people, and now they are free and able to celebrate, and they had to cancel their celebrations. My prayer for these communities is that their own quiet Christmas celebrations at home will be full of Christmas joy and full of God's peace. My prayer is that the plans of the enemy towards those who want to celebrate will be thwarted, and that the enemy- the terrorists themselves will come to know the love of God this Christmas season.
And as we're praying for world peace this morning, my attention also focuses on the African nation of the Ivory Coast. The country is perched in a precarious position on the edge of civil war. A recent presidential election has left the incumbent president refusing to leave office, though he lost the election. Tensions are running high in the country, banks have been frozen, and it could truly be a matter of a few hours before the country is actually involved in a civil war. Adding to the troubles are fighters from the neighboring country of Liberia positioning themselves to get involved as well. I pray this morning that God will bring His plans for this country into fruition. Of course He has great plans for this small country perched on the African coastline. I pray that His plans will supersede all others, and that through it all, God will get the glory and that His love and His peace will be known throughout the Ivory Coast. God is peace, and God is love. I pray that those precious people will know that.
I am also praying for this world peace to infect the Korean Peninsula. South Korean troops are on high alert and are preparing in new ways to defend their country against North Korea. While they are only preparing to protect their own people against aggressive attacks, they are being criticized by world leaders for doing so. And as they prepare to defend, I'm sure that those in the north are preparing to attack. Tensions have been tight between these two countries since 1950- and it has gotten about as tight as it can get before something is going to pop. What a Christmas miracle it would be to have peace flood the nations of Korea! What a gift of love to the people who live in these two countries if peace could come between the north and the south, and only God can bring this peace about.
As we celebrate the Christmas season, it is my prayer that the people living in these troubled areas of the globe will know real peace this Christmas. May they find the peace that only Jesus can give, and may they find the love that only God can give. God loves them so much that Christmas came in the first place, may they see that and know that. And may this be the best Christmas ever all around the globe.