“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:14
The second part of the angels’ song, referred to the meaning of Christmas to this world, to the blessings it would bring to His people, to the change and transformation it would work. “On earth peace, good-will toward men.”
“Good-will toward men.” Good-will means kindness, sympathy, love. It means that we shall have no bitter feeling toward anyone, no unkind thought, no dislike. This man who jostled against me today—is my bother. Perhaps it was as much my fault—as his. I may have put myself obstinately in his way. Most likely at least he did it unintentionally. Let me then forgive him—or even ask his pardon for being in the way when he stumbled.
We may read the Gospels to see how Jesus showed good-will to men, for he gave us the pattern for every beautiful thing he would have us do. A frown never came upon his face—when someone had been rude or unkind to him. Nothing ever caused him to show annoyance, however many things you were to disturb and vex him. The people were selfish and ill-mannered in pressing about him. They gave him no time to rest or to eat. They even broke in upon him—when he was at his private devotions. But his patience and kindness never failed. Nothing ever ruffled or interrupted his composure or irritated him in the slightest way. They told him that the woman at his feet was evil, that her character was stained, and that he should not let her touch him. But he continued his gracious kindness to her—as if she had been the best woman in the land. They hated and persecuted him, hurt and insulted him, spitting in his face, at last nailing him on the cross; but he went on loving, never complaining, never resisting, showing no resentment!
That is what good-will to men means. Can we learn the lesson? That is part of what our Christmas-making means. On Christmas Day, we feel “kindly affectioned” toward all the world. We would not do harm to anyone. We let nothing annoy or vex us. We try to keep our spirit sweet, even amid the most irritating experiences. We forgive those who have wronged us. We give up grudges and resentments. We are glad of any opportunity to be kind to those who have been unkind to us. The problem is to keep up this good-will tomorrow, to take it out with us into the life of the days after Christmas, and to keep on making Christmas wherever we go all the days of the new year. If we do all this—it will not take long to bring in the reign of love.