When Jesus was born, the first audience to receive the birth announcement was a group of sheep herders tending their flocks somewhere outside Bethlehem.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14)

It is interesting that a group of shepherds received the first announcement of the birth of the One who would call Himself the Good Shepherd (John 10:11 and John 10:14).

Also, note what the multitude of angels said at the end:

“Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)

Sometimes, people will say that Christmas is about “peace on earth” – based on this verse. But Jesus’ own words make it clear that this is not the meaning the angels intended. Jesus never said that the purpose of his first “coming” or “advent” was to bring peace on earth. In fact, he said just the opposite:
“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Luke 12:51)

Jesus knew and taught his disciples that his teaching would divide people. You see this in families where some are belivers and the others aren’t. It’s not that they fight all the time, but they just have significant differences in perspective about very important things. I’ve seen it in marriages where the husband is an unbeliever and the wife is a believer. It just makes things hard, but following Christ completely alters your perspective. The fact is, as you read your Bible, Jesus’ teaching doesn’t usually get people to all lock arms and sing sweet songs together. It usually starts riots. It got Jesus crucified. Jesus brought division. One day, he will bring true and lasting peace. But Scripture says that will happen after His second coming (which I plan to write more about on Christmas Day).

The peace that Luke 2:14 is describing is the peace between God and man that comes only through a relationship with Christ. This peace comes “among those with whom he is pleased”, those whom God is pleased to call to himself and give the gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus, who was called the Prince of Peace in Isaiah 9:6. The restless heart won’t find ultimate rest until it finds it in the Prince of Peace. This is what the angels meant when they said,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
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