PEACE AT CHRISTMAS
Before I spent time in Israel I imagined Shepherd’s Field, the place where angels announced the birth of Jesus to lowly shepherds, as a big open grassy plain. A place of great beauty and open spaces… like on a Christmas card.
The picture below is of Shepherd’s Field today… not at all what I imagined… but then, most of what is true in the bible is not what most of us imagine…
Shepherd’s field, is like much of Israel…rocky and bleached by the sun… with some scraggly brush and a few hearty weather-worn trees! Shepherd’s field consists of two sloping hillsides meeting in a narrow ravine.
This is the real place that the angel of the Lord suddenly stood before the shepherds with the glory of the Lord surrounding them, frightening the poor shepherds almost to death (Luke: 2:9)!
This is the real place that God’s messenger (the meaning of “angel”) came with a message from God to not only the shepherds but to the whole world… “a message of good news and great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
When I take away all my preconceived notions of what Shepherd’s field SHOULD look like and what I think happened, I begin to see the simple and real truths of this passage.
Here, on an ordinary evening… in an ordinary field in Israel…were ordinary men of lowly status… doing their ordinary job. They were probably like many of us… going to work and maybe not loving it. They had real life problems and real life wants and needs. It was just another ordinary evening in the outskirts of Bethlehem two thousand years ago.
It was there and then that God stepped into their lives! He had an announcement. Like a proud Abba ( Hebrew for Daddy) he told of the birth of His Son. This is where the ordinary stopped… and the incredible and extraordinary began!
The angel said, “… for today in the city of David, there has been born for you a Savior who is Christ the Lord”. ( Luke 2:11).
To the ancient Jews… an ancient, orthodox, eastern thinker… here is a little flavor of what they heard in those words…
Today in King David’s city “House Of Bread”… the meaning of Bethlehem.. is born to you… the nation Israel… a Savior… the one that had been foretold by the Prophets and long awaited, one who would SAVE his people…Christ... the Greek word for the Hebrew word Messiah, meaning the anointed One. Only kings, prophets and priest were anointed. Anointed means to have oil poured over one’s head as a sign of being singled out and having the ability to do do a specific job… the Lord…. creator, owner, in essence God.
This was better than “good new”! This was the best news. The Jews had been waiting hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years for a Savior to come and free them from the bondage of occupation and oppression by foreign countries!
But the angel said this was good news for all people. I bet this news was not that great for the oppressors of the Jews… if that is truly what this scripture passage really means!
Why would this be such good news to all men?
The chorus of heavenly angels that appear to praise God might have the answer!
They say, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth … don’t stop there…among men with whom He is well pleased (Luke 2:14)!
The Christmas cards stop the verse too soon… they usually leave out “among men with whom He is well pleased”.
Here is the good news for all people! Peace! The Hebrew word for peace is “Shalom”. It is a word rich in meaning… a word deep and wide with wholeness and well-being.
This peace that God is proclaiming… brought about by His new Son is not the kind of peace we read about on our Christmas cards. Oh no!
God is not saying peace on earth… as in no war… the kumbaya… let’s all be one big happy family peace. No… No …NO!
The peace God is proclaiming is even better… it is a peace between Him and the people that please Him.
How can we know if we are one of those that please Him? Here is the best part! We don’t have to do anything to please Him… just believe!!!
Believe in the Son He sent. It is this Son that will repair the relationship between God and men that has been broken by sin. It is this tiny newborn baby that would grow up and shed His sinless blood to wipe away our sins that keep us from the Father. It is this Christ that will bring about the Peace all men desire!
God loves us so so much. He always wants to have a relationship of wholeness and completeness between us. So great was this desire that He would give us His Son… to save us and bring eternal peace… between GOD AND MEN!
“For God so loved the word that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to judge it, but that the world should be saved through Him” John 3: 16 and 17.
The shepherds watching their flocks in Shepherd’s field were the first to hear God’s birth announcement of His Son on the night He was born. They heard God’s invitation of peace in the angels praises and went seeking Him. And they found Him… they found the Savior, the Christ, The Peacemaker, the Lord! He was lowly like them, lying in a food trough.
Are you seeking too… because if you are you WILL also find Him!
“Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be open unto you. For whoever asks receives, whoever seeks finds, and whoever knocks it shall be open.” Luke 7: 7and 8
Ask for God’s peace in your life… seek the Savior with all your heart… knock on the door to a relationship with God Himself.
I spent an evening in Shepherd’s field. It was an ordinary evening in an ordinary field in Israel. But God stepped in and made it incredible and extraordinary. He impressed me with the real truth about Shepherd’s field and Peace on Earth!
This Advent season I wish your SHALOM… I wish you PEACE!
Scripture memorization verse this week:
Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth among men with whom He is well pleased . Luke 2:14
Thank you Yvonne. As Linus says, “This is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” This last Sunday of Advent is Love. He came to love all of us and gave the greatest gift of love, His Son.
I say AMEN TO YOU !!!!
Amen and amen!
Same to you! I love Sunday’s reflections.
Beautifully written. The world’s conception Christmas is so diluted. I hope to have an opportunity to read this to my family this year.
Again thanks for sharing such a special message. Wait for them every Sunday. I am going to print this off and send it to someone that I love very much and to someone that needs God in their life. I want to be able to see them in Heaven one day and his parents do also. You know we think that we have to have the best to prove that God loves us, but when you see where he was born and where the shepherds were when God sent them the most wonderful message in the world, you understand that God wants us to have the best, but not put it before him and humble ourselves like he did to show his all merciful love. Merry Christmas my friend. You made my Christmas.
Thank you,Yvonne. This is a beautiful word picture of The Miracle of Christ,and the Hope of all mankind…JESUS!❤️
Beautiful thoughts about our Lord and Saviour……have a blessed and safe Christmas….
Blessed Christmas to you!
Thank you for using your public forum so boldly to spread the Good News of the savior! You no doubt, reach many who might not otherwise hear the true meaning of Christmas! God bless!
Thank you for your reminder that man’s version of Peace on Earth falls short of God’s intentions. Always does.
And Peace to you and yours.
Beautifully written! Merry Christmas to you and yours!
As the hymn “O, Holy Night” begins “fall on your news. Oh, hear the angels voices…” The Bible also says that “at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confes that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10, 11. Truly, Jesus did not remain a baby but came to save us from our sins as God the Father ordained. I love your Sunday devotions.
Beautiful scriptures, Bev!
Peace to you and your family.
Have a blessed Christmas.
Thank you for making my Sunday morning my special time to reflect on God’s love.
Merry Christmas sweet Twinda to you and your family!
Beautiful. Peace to you and yours.
So beautifully written, Yvonne! Our God is such a good God, He blesses us with that amazing peace of knowing Him and trusting Him. Wishing you and those you love a blessed Sunday, and a very Merry Christmas. ❤️
Shalom; Gods peace to you and your family!
Beautiful and the true meaning of Christmas!
Beautiful and thank you for sharing
So inspiring – Thank you so much for the Sunday reminders.
Thank you for the inspiration.
Beautiful! Shalom and God’s blessings to you and your family during this special time, and into the future!
Beautifully written and inspiring. I loo forward to your Sunday messages Yvonne.
I have been to a wonderful Church this morning by reading your beautiful post. Thank you for giving us a powerful lesson of God’s love. Peace to you and your precious family.
For 2016 years man has been fighting and arguing with nothing but himself and the simple yet elusive Word of God. When will we wake up and just ponder that perhaps He’s got a point and why don’t we FOR ONCE just try it HIS way? Every year at Christmas my husband asked me ‘what I want’. I tell him the same: “Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men”. And every year we find ourselves in the same lost place. This year, I am especially despondent. People! it’s time for something different. Let’s try praying, REALLY praying.
Joanne, don’t be despondent! Be joyful. God is in full control. He knows how crazy men have made this earth, this life. Yet, what a platform to show those are lost God’s great love and sacrifice. Not until Jesus comes again will there be no war, bickering etc. But in it we can see God everywhere! Praying is the most powerful weapon against evil!
A gentle reminder of what Christmas is all about. BELIEVE!
I appreciated this blog so much and the photo. Brings to mind the contrast between the terrain where the shepherds and sheep were and the brillance of what the surrounding sky must have looked like when the angels announced the birth of Christ.
Have a very merry and blessed Christmas.
I am forever amazed at God’ love for us….I love your posts and your pictures than inspire and celebrate… and among my favorites is the the way you always seem to keep us wrapped inlove with our maker and father….Beauty abounds in this blog!!
I too enjoy and look forward to your Sunday morning devotions.
Thank you and God bless!
An incredible place, we were also there a couple of years ago. A visit that will never be forgotten. Amen
Thank you, Yonne!
I love that God made His announcement to the sheep herders… the most insignificant people. Can we ever doubt the value God places on all of us? Jesus came not for some… but for all. YAY!!! Thanks for this lovely devotional Yvonne.
May you and yours have a blessed and JOYfilled Christmas! XO
This moves me to tears–so beautifully and poignantly written! The shepherds in the fields have long been my favorite part of the Nativity story. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing this. It is a beautiful reminder of God’s great love for us.
Yes…Peace..shalom, the deep down sense of well-being, regardless of circumstances, brings to mind the indwelling loving presence of God through Jesus.
The peace that passes understanding in this extraordinary season,
Thanking our Lord for coming into the world for us
Thank you for the Message. I missed church today.
Thank you for opening up new meaning for an awe inspiring event. I will never stop being amazed by God’s desire to connect with us and offer all we need to do that!!
God bless you and yours in this holy of holy holiday!!! Merry Christmas !!
Amazingly well written Amen
Your posts are truly magic!Have a wonderful Christmas! Love Ya’
That was so beautiful, thank you. Shalom and Merry Christmas.
Amen! I grew up with this translation: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” It gave me the impression that all receive God’s good will(if you’re willing to accept it) Merry Christmas and may we all find peace in these difficult, challenging times.
Amen! Peace and a very blessed Christmas with your new grandchild!
Thank you Yvonne for the beautiful message. What a blessing to hear this again. Merry Christmas, blessed New Year and above all, PEACE!
Thank you, Yvonne, for sharing the “greatest story ever told”. May the true meaning of Christmas and this glorious season fill our hearts with love, peace, hope and joy throughout the new year.
Shalom to you as well Yvonne
Just beautiful! I love that you include Bible verses on Sunday. Let us not be afraid to proclaim our faith in Him that is our Svior. Merry Christmas to you & your family.
Thank you for your messages on the Sabbath.
Thoughtful reflection. And teaches us to pause and think of the true meaning of Christmas….
Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and yours. Peace on Earth to all!!
Reach one of your Sunday Scriptures inspire and enrich me. I always look forward to them. Thank you for the gift of teaching you are blessed with. Shalom! Merry Christmas
I’m glad you have the chance to visit Israel. Thank you for the beautiful message. Merry Christmas!
Beautiful! I live reading your inspirational posts! You should combine them into a book. Merry Christmas!
What a blessing! Thanks for sharing from your heart to ours today.
Amen! What a beautiful CHRISTMAS message today.
Thanks you for sharing about Shepherd’s Field. I’ve never been to Israel so that was very interesting. What an exciting and life-changing day that was for the shepherds who heard the announcement of Christ the Savior.
Gives me chills! I LOVE hearing about the shepherds and angels in the Christmas story. I love to think how the angels didn’t know when Jesus was going to come… but, when our Father said to them, “Get ready…”, I can just see the angels praising God and saying to each other, “He’s coming!!! He’s commmmminnnng!” Thanks, Yvonne. I posted a link to this on my FB page.