“Good will toward men.” – Luke 2:14
Yes! that is the meaning of it all. It tells of the good will of God toward all men. There is a strange mediaeval legend which illustrates this truth. An infidel knight, in the wildness of his mad, Heaven-defying infidelity, determined to test, by the method to which as a knight he was accustomed, the reality and power of the God whose existence he denied. So, going out into the field, armed as if for combat, he cast his glove down upon the ground, after the manner of the ancient challengers, and cried out to the heavens: “God! — if there be a God — I defy thee here and now to mortal combat! If thou indeed art, put forth thy might, of which thy pretended priests make such boasts.” As he spoke, his eye was caught by a piece of parchment fluttering in the air just above his head. It fell at his feet. He stooped and picked it up, and found inscribed upon it these words, “God is love!” Overcome by this unexpected response, he broke his sword in token of his surrender, and kneeling upon the fragments, consecrated his life henceforth to the service of that God whom he had just before defied. Thus to all men’s defiance, to the rebellion of a world, to the godlessness of nations, to the blasphemy of individuals, the answer that heaven has always let fall has been, “God is love!” This was the message that came wafted down that night on the silent air in this sweet note of the angels’ song. This was the meaning of the coming of Christ. Cold was the world; shut were men’s hearts against God; defiant was the attitude of nations. Yet to this coldness, this defiance, this revolt, the answer was not swift judgment, but the gift of the Son of God as the Savior — “On earth peace, good will toward men.” Wherever the gospel goes today, it breathes the same loving message. God does not hate us; he loves us with a love tender and everlasting.
The Bible In A Year