I love nativity sets. If it were possible, each Christmas I would have one displayed in every room of my house. This year as I was setting out the pieces of my nativities, I was struck afresh by the way each participant is focused on the face of the Christ child. When this babe becomes a man, such worshipful gazes will be replaced with contempt...but on the night of Jesus' birth, and then later through the wisemen, Simeon and Anna, there was pure worship of the baby Messiah.
The night God's Son came to earth, in worship and praise the angels proclaimed a message of peace: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests". (Luke 2:14) The good news of Jesus is for all men (Luke 2:10), but God's peace can only be known by those on whom His favor rests. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, ...without faith it is impossible to please God. God's favor comes to rest on any person who believes Him. Simply put, only those who believe God can be pleasing to Him, and only those who are pleasing to God can experience His peace.
Luke 2:15 says, When the angels had left...the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing which has happened, which the Lord has told us about." Before the shepherds looked on the face of the Christ child, they first believed the words of the Lord. After they looked on Jesus' face, the shepherds glorified and praised God for all that they had heard and seen. They praised God because His words were true. Their praise was a sign of peace. They could praise because the Peace of God had captured their focus.
As I ponder that thought, Isaiah 26:3 comes to my mind. In speaking of God this passage says, You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on you. (NLT) When my mind is fixed on the truth of God, my heart will be filled with peace. Such peace, as proclaimed by the angels, is the reason that God sent His Son to the earth: He wanted all men to experience the peace that comes from being made right with Him.
On that first Christmas night, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds were given the great privilege of focusing on the face of the Messiah. In like manner, until I can also fix my eyes on His face, I desire to fix my heart on His truth. Beautifully, as my mind and heart is fixed on His truth, the celebration of his birth, life, death and resurrection becomes an unending process...and the Peace proclaimed on that first Christmas night can daily be proclaimed through my life.