For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:11-14)
Asking the question, “Didn’t you get the memo?” or hearing someone say, jokingly, “I must not have gotten the memo” is a pretty common and light-hearted way of talking about instances of not getting a piece of information that everyone else seems to have gotten. This passage from Luke is a memo of sorts sent, not to the elite of society (I suspect there was a shortage of elites in rural Bethlehem), but instead to some blue-collar outdoor workers assigned to the night shift.
The message to them was one of peace. I’ve always preferred to look at these words as GOD extending, by way of His Son, a peace offering to the humanity that was estranged from Him. The relationship between GOD and His greatest creation was broken and dysfunctional. The healing of relationships always requires someone taking the first step. GOD took the first step and extended a hand.
Many since then have taken the memo to heart and have made peace with GOD, through Jesus Christ, and have experienced the reality of a peace that is hopeful and which sustains through time or circumstance. Quite a few are alive today; I’m blessed to know some.
Still, we seem to live in an environment where harmony and benevolence (mutual peace and goodwill) is in too short supply. Caustic attitudes, self-centeredness, anger, resentment and even worse, with the attendant justifications and confusion, seems the order of the day for enough folks that it’s impossible to ignore. Did they not get the memo? If not, why not? It’s not like anyone is hiding it. It’s there for everyone. If they did get it, are they ignoring it as if there is no downside to ignoring it? What’s up with that?
One of the dynamics of peace with GOD is that it leads to peace with others. GOD apparently values peace a great deal. See Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God” i.e. those who intentionally seek and make peace with others bear a resemblance to their Father in heaven.
I’m not speaking of false peace which is just an absence of visible conflict or where animosity is suppressed behind a false face. The peace I refer to is rooted in and flows from such a deep reverence and regard for GOD (love) that it translates into a deep, unselfish regard (love) for everyone else’s humanity. It makes no distinction. Jesus spoke to this when He said that loving GOD with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength is the greatest commandment and second to that is loving our neighbor as ourselves.
We can’t experience this if we don’t have or really want His peace within, if we didn’t read the memo or take it to heart. It is there for the taking. Take it! Though others may choose not to, don’t settle for less than GOD’s best.
As we approach the celebration day for the first Advent of Jesus Christ, let us recall what Paul, an Apostle of Christ, said from his imprisonment: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Read the memo. Selah.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2020. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.