"Pope Benedict on Tuesday said he hoped Christmas would bring consolation to those living in poverty, injustice and war and appealed for just solutions to conflicts in Iraq, the Holy Land, Afghanistan and Africa" (Philip Pullella, Reuters, December 25, 2007). Yet Christmas never brings real solutions to our global problems. Year-end reviews of 2007 covered by magazines, newspapers, television, radio and a plethora of Internet sites remind us of another year of near disasters. They let us relive through statistics, stories and video clips the past year's escalating crime, weather-created chaos, terrorist acts and the financial precipices that various currencies nearly fell over.
Each year these year-in-review reports seem more dramatic. They remind me of the apostle Paul's description in 2 Timothy 3:1 2 Timothy 3:1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
American King James Version×of those "perilous times" destined to be characteristic of the "last days" before Jesus Christ returns.
Also, I am struck by how a few individuals can often have a great impact on many people for good or for harm. For example, early next year the United Kingdom may face a nearly total shut down of international flights on three occasions in January 2008. A few hundred key personnel of an airport union are threatening to strike and close major airport hubs around the UK—including Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick in London.
Again, the ill-thought action of a few recently led to the loss of 25 million names, addresses and bank account details of British families on two computer disks. Two months later they have still not turned up. In the wrong hands identity fraud could affect parents and children through millions of pounds being misappropriated over a period of decades.
On the other hand, amazing and helpful discoveries made by merely a few may ultimately benefit many! Some in the scientific and medical fields have achieved considerable advances, as indicated by Time Magazine's "50 Top 10 Lists of 2007."
Always overlooked in these reviews, however, is the one individual who is contributing the most to the future of our society. For the past 2000 years Jesus Christ has been preparing a special group of people—selected by His Father (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×, 65)—for bringing about truly remarkable changes in the world.
After His return to this earth those who have submitted themselves to His teachings and yielded themselves to His training will become His trusted assistants in His Kingdom (Revelation 1:6 Revelation 1:6And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
American King James Version×; 3:21). They will serve as leaders in the world-ruling government that the prophet Daniel described to Nebuchadnezzar, the first emperor of a series of kingdoms destined to be replaced by the Kingdom of God at the return of Christ (Daniel 2:37-47 Daniel 2:37-47  You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.  And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.  And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.  And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: for as much as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.  And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, for as much as you saw the iron mixed with miry clay.  And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.  And whereas you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not join one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  For as much as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.  Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors to him.  The king answered to Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing you could reveal this secret.
American King James Version×).
A favourite piece of music played at this time of the year is Handel's Messiah. Of the many passages quoted from the Bible by George Frideric Handel, some of the most stirring words are often 'overlooked' by the audience. For example:
"And the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of peace; of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end..."
"Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigns." "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of Kings, and Lord of Lords", "Hallelujah!"
These lyrics are taken from Bible prophecies in Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
American King James Version×and Revelation, 19:6; 11:15; 19:16 that foretell a time of universal peace and prosperity during the coming Kingdom of God under the righteous rule of Jesus Christ.
An angel announced to some shepherds at the time of Jesus' birth (in September or October), "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11 Luke 2:10-11  And the angel said to them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 For to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
American King James Version×). This angel plus a heavenly host praised God and revealed some really good news: "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace for those he favours" (verse 14, New Jerusalem Bible).
Jesus became mankind's Saviour through His death and resurrection. Peace did not come then! At His return to earth as Christ the Lord He will bring about world peace as the King of kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16 Revelation 19:16And he has on his clothing and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
American King James Version×) and become known as Prince of peace (Isaiah 9:6 Isaiah 9:6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
American King James Version×). Until then we are to pray, "Thy kingdom come" (Luke 11:2 Luke 11:2And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
American King James Version×, KJV).