Luke 2:13-14 NKJV
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
“Goodwill towards men”. Herein we see the truth of God’s good nature towards us. He’s not in heaven sitting on the edge of His seat just waiting for us to mess up so He can come down, slap us on the hand, and tell us how horrible we are. He’s a loving Father, who in His good pleasure delights to give us the Kingdom realm and all its promises.
The phrase “goodwill towards men” actually means that people are the object of God’s affection and goodwill. And later, when Jesus grew up and began walking the earth, He showed people what God was really like as He reflected His heart and nature and went about “doing good“:
“God anointed and consecrated Jesus of Nazareth with the [Holy] Spirit and with strength and ability and power; how He went about doing good and, in particular, curing all who were harassed and oppressed by [the power of] the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38 AMPC
Think back on your life. Think back on those moments – maybe even during a holiday season – when “goodwill” reached you and touched your life. It could have been a practical, though thoughtful, and meaningful gift or maybe it was an act of service. Someone did something for you that touched your heart. Something that no one else had ever done or would have even thought to do. Maybe it was a kind word at just the right time. Or someone being gracious and gentle with you on a day you felt like you were just surrounded by chaos and harshness. Or maybe it was a comfort you experienced. Someone who came around you at a time when you really needed a shoulder to lean on. The shoulder of someone who understood and could empathize with what you were going through.
When we experience the goodness of God, it unlocks the capacity for goodness within us. What we receive, we are now enabled to give. It’s like we “get it”. We can identify with others on a deep level, understand why a particular gift, act or kindness or gentle word was so meaningful and we know how to give to others the way it was given to us.
What “goodwill” has been bestowed on your life? What type of kindness, compassion, goodness, comfort, thoughtfulness have you received – maybe at a time when you could most use it? Maybe even during a holiday season? What would it look like for you and I, each of us, with our own “flavor”, our own “signature”, what would it look like for us to show “goodwill” towards someone else?
Goodwill always takes on flesh. The only way we can experience it is through the hands and heart of another person. So over the next few days, let’s be more intentional about finding ways we can “go about doing good“. Let us show others the heart and nature of a good Father and reflect what He’s really like.
Trust me. There is someone in your world who today, could so desperately use what you have or what you are. What we have received, let us freely give and continue to multiply the goodwill that has been so graciously poured out on us.