“The story is told of a woman walking along the beach when she stumbled upon a Genie’s lamp. She picked it up and rubbed it, and lo-and-behold a Genie appeared. The amazed woman asked if she got three wishes.
The Genie said, “Nope, I can only grant you one wish. So, what’ll it be?”
The woman didn’t hesitate. She said,
“I want peace in the Middle East. See this map? I want these countries to stop fighting with each other.”
The Genie looked at the map and exclaimed,
“Gadzooks, Lady! These countries have been at war for thousands of years. I’m out of shape after being in a bottle for centuries. I’m good but not THAT good! I don’t think it can be done. Make another wish. ”
The woman thought for a minute and said,
“Well, I’ve never been able to find the right man. You know, one that’s considerate and fun, likes to cook and helps with the house cleaning, is good in bed and gets along with my family, doesn’t watch sports all the time, and is faithful. That’s what I wish for — a good mate.”
The Genie let out a long sigh, shook his head and said,
“Let me see that map again!”
The angels said, “’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased’” (Lk. 2:14)! Jesus’ birth brings peace to us. The word “peace” (eirene) refers to the “sum of all blessings associated with the coming of the Messiah.” (Marshall) It is both international and individual. Internationally, the Messiah brings peace to His people after He has won the war against their enemies (Isa. 9:1-7). Individually, the Messiah brings peace to you if you believe in Him as your personal Savior and Lord.
Christmas brings the good news of peace. Peter said that the “good news of peace” is “through Jesus Christ . . . To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name” (Acts 10:36, 43). The good news of peace through Christ brings forgiveness through Christ. Forgiveness is received by faith in Christ—“everyone who believes in him.” If you believe in Christ as your personal Savior, you will receive forgiveness of sins and peace with God.
This peace is for “those with whom he is pleased” (v. 14). The word “pleased” (eudokia) means “favor, good pleasure” (Gingrich). “It corresponds to Hebrew rāṣôn, used of the will of God (Pss. 51:18 (50:20); 89:17 (88:18); 106:4 (105:4)). . . The phrase means ‘those upon whom God’s will/favour rests’ . . .” (Marshall) Jesus’ birth brings peace to those with whom God is pleased. God’s peace is for those who receive God’s favor.
Whom is God pleased? Who receives God favor? Everyone who believes in Christ receives God’s favor. God calls on everyone now to believe in Christ and to receive His forgiveness and peace in Christ (Acts 10:43; 2 Pet. 3:9). Bruce Larson wrote, “If you are able to receive what God wants to give, the message of peace is for you. . . It is available for all, and when and if we receive what God wants to give us, we have peace.”
God is pleased with anyone who repents his sin and trusts Christ. Have you trusted Christ as your personal Savior? Then in Christ, God is pleased with you. In Christ, God’s favor is upon you.