And one of the words that we hear a lot during this season is “peace.” Here are a few examples just from popular Christmas carols:
- “Peace on earth and mercy mild; God and sinner reconciled” from Hark the Herald Angels Sing by Charles Wesley.
- “Peace on the earth, good will to men; from heaven’s all gracious king” from It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Edmund H. Sears.
- “Holy infant so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace” from Silent Night by Joseph Mohr.
- “Truly he taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace” from O Holy Night by J.S. Dwight and A.C. Adam.
But perhaps my favorite place this word pops up is in a passage from the Old Testament that followers of Jesus have always seen as pointing forward to Jesus (Isaiah 9.6-7):
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
I love this passage for many reasons. But the one that stands out the most to me right now is this: We need to hear it. Those of us who follow Jesus need to be reminded that we follow the promised Prince of Peace!
Why do we need to be reminded of this? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few reasons:
- We are not people of peace — Want proof? Take a good, hard look inside. My guess is that, like me, you’ll see a person of strife, discord, and disunity, at least some of the time, if not most of the time. We hurt one another and ourselves. We turn a blind eye when we see others living lives that aren’t peaceful. And there are lots of people in this world who are active agents against peace, as we’ve seen in Lebanon, Paris, Colorado Springs, San Bernandino, and too many more places to share here. And I’ve not even mentioned the ridiculous number of armed conflicts currently raging in our world (here’s a map, check it out for yourself). Thus, we need to be reminded that Jesus is the Prince of Peace because we are in desperate need of peace, personally, interpersonally, regionally, nationally, and globally.
- We are made to exhibit peace — God created us to be at peace. Read about the wonderfully idyllic world he made for the first humans in Genesis 2. It’s beautiful! Everything was as it should be. Then sin entered the scene and mucked everything up. But God didn’t quit on us! Instead he sent his son, the Prince of Peace, to come to this world to save us. He taught about peace. He lived peace. He made peace in the midst of conflict. And he promised us the Holy Spirit who would come and live in us, creating in us various divine qualities, including peace. And then, at the end, Jesus will bring ultimate peace, causing divisions to cease, struggles to end, and wholeness and peace to come! In other words, peace is one of the things we were made for! Thus, we need to be reminded that Jesus is the Prince of Peace because who better to learn from than him?
- We are called to be peace-makers — Jesus said that peacemakers were blessed (Matthew 5.9) and Paul called us to be all about peace too. Here’s how he put it: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12.18). Paul seems to be saying that we are all expected to be people who wage peace, not animosity, discord, and strife. He starts by saying “if it is possible.” Well, we know that it is! All things are possible with God (Matthew 19.26). And then he says “as far as it depends on you.” Well, last time I checked, I’m the only person ultimately responsible for me; so when it comes to living at peace in my life, it always depends on me! And he ends by saying that we should “live at peace with everyone.” Note that he didn’t say “live at peace with people who are sure to be peaceful in return” or “live at peace with those whom you like” or “live at peace with people with whom peace can be forged easily” or “live at peace with those who pose no risk.” Friends, Paul’s challenge here is high! He is saying that we must be people who make peace. As followers of Jesus we don’t have a choice; it’s our duty (no matter the cost). Thus, we need to be reminded that Jesus is the Prince of Peace because being peace-makers is part of our calling!
So this Christmastime let’s focus a little less on flashy gifts, pretty lights, and bad-for-us food and a lot more on how Jesus being the Prince of Peace should have a radical impact on our lives!
How can you imitate the Prince of Peace this holiday season? Where do you need a good dose of peace? And how are you being called to be a peace-maker? Let me know in the comments below!