During this season of Advent, we will be taking a break from our study in the Book of Mark and will instead offer daily devotionals for you to read aloud with your family, pertaining to this Advent season. We will resume our study of Mark after the first of the New Year.
Take It to the Goodwill
“and on earth, goodwill toward all men . . .” Luke 2:14
Throughout history, man’s relationship with their gods was tenuous. The best any could hope for was that the gods would be benevolent, perhaps take pity on them and reward their behavior with goodness. The gods of the earth defined love as indulgent, sensual and self-seeking. Love, especially for the Greek gods, had to do with the senses and the instincts, which is what makes Jesus’ birth so stunning.
God is not a god among other gods, but living and all-powerful. The birth of Jesus was God breaking into human history. That night in a half of a barn, on the back side of a common house, through a scared, teenaged girl, God became flesh and dwelt among us. The love of God laid aside rank, rules, and rights. Divinity took on the form of humanity. That night in Bethlehem, love became a verb.
This verse is one of the best known in the Christmas story. It’s the announcement of a shift in God’s relationship with mankind. The word “goodwill” literally means love. It conveys the idea of friendship, not a sticky sentimentality. There is an element of reverence in it, indicating what man’s attitude and reaction towards God and others ought to be.
Love is the key word of the gospels. This high heavenly declaration brushes aside the things that masquerade as love, the distorted outlook that describes itself as love, all the while seeking its own selfish ends. The angels and the heavens declare God loves the world enough to give His Son, that whosoever would believe in Him, shall have eternal life.
It should come as no surprise that this announcement is made to a world of hearts who are cracked and blemished, whose struggles are soul deep. To a world that’s jealous, contentious and vice-ridden, war-torn – a tragically and desperately needy world.
The goodwill of God is a daring and bold act. It’s an experiment in a new kind of friendship. God’s goodwill calls us out of loneliness and isolation into a life of unity with Christ. During this Advent time, we are invited to take our life to the goodwill of God.
How does God’s life change your relationship with others?