In Luke 2 we read of an angel appearing to some shepherds proclaiming “good news of great joy that will be for all people.” And then a heavenly host joined the angel “praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’” (See Luke 2:1-20 for the whole story))
In Matthew 2 we read: “Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose in the east and have come to worship him.’” (See Matthew 2:ff for the whole story)
Good news, joy, peace, glory, worship, praise, shepherds, angels, a very special baby, Mary, Joseph, Magi, mangers, stars, on and on it goes. We love the Christmas story and all the blessings associated with the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah. You would think we could all get along for at least a few days. Well…
For many years, a large silver star stood atop the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. One day in the 1800s, the Roman Catholic Church, which shared a part of the building with a Greek Orthodox Church, decided to take down the silver star and replace it with their own star but the Greek Orthodox Church refused to let them do that and that’s when things went from bad to worse. There was the Greek Orthodox Church which was supported by Russia _ the Roman Catholic Church which was supported by France _ Turkey which actually ruled over Palestine at the time. Well, Turkey sided with the Roman Catholic Church, Russia declared war on Turkey _ France and England allied themselves with Turkey and fought what history calls the Crimean War, which lasted from 1853 to 1856. At the end of that war the star came down. So when it was all said and done they had both lost.
I have a feeling there have been some personal wars that have happened in our lives that could have been avoided if we had prayed more than we complained _ if we had spent more time seeking God than seeking revenge _ if we had claimed the promises an angel proclaimed and spent more time in praise and worship than shopping and holiday revelry.
Paul had this to say about that: Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life… (Philippians 2:14-16)
Unity _ peace _ God’s love _that’s the star that should shine from our lives, our families, and our church not just for a season but all year, every year.