Prince of Peace Only Jesus Can Truly Bring What We Most Need

prince of peace

It’s Christmastime!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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!

Immanuel: Christmas Hope

What is Christmas about?


What do we, as fallen human beings, need?


And what are we tempted to make Christmas about?

Everything but Immanuel.

Immanuel: God with Us

As we are reminded in the Bible that “Immanuel” means God with us (Matthew 1.23).  That’s what gives Christmas it’s meaning.  That’s where our ultimate hope should be found.  And that’s exactly what we’re tempted not to think about during Christmastime.

But what is so great about Immanuel?  Well, it’s simple — there’s no better news that can ever be conceived of other than the fact that God is with us.

And how he chose to be with us is awe-inspiring.  God could have have chosen to be with us in any number of ways.

He could have been with us as a judge divvying out just judgments for our many mistakes and missteps.

He could have been with us as a priest who teaching and/or leading us through a series of rituals to bring us closer to God.

He could have been with us as a prophet yelling on the street corner about God’s truths while wearing funny clothes.

He could have been with us as a victorious military leader who vanquishing all our foes from the past, present, and future.

Or he could have been with us a king, benevolent or otherwise, ruling from a palace.

But instead God chose to be with us as a poor child born to an unassuming young woman from a tiny town.  The man who would serve as his earthly father was a work-a-day guy who was just as unassuming as the child’s mother.

God became Immanuel, God with us, in humility.

So during Christmastime this is what we celebrate.  We celebrate the incarnation — God choosing to become one of us in the most humble of ways.  We celebrate hope.  We celebrate God’s plan to love us, rescue us, and set us apart for his mission.

Christmas Temptations

While Immanuel is what Christmas is all about, we’re tempted to make it about other things instead.  Here are a few:

  1. Family: While family is important, it’s not what Christmas is about.  Family can point us to Immanuel, the fact that God is with us.  Our family can remind us in tangible ways that God is with us.  But family is not what Christmas is about, despite how good and important it is.
  2. Fun: Who doesn’t like having fun?  Well, there are a few people — we all know who you are!  But having fun is not what Christmas is about.  Going to parties, seeing friends, and enjoying Christmas cheer can prevent us from remembering Immanuel.
  3. Gifts: Speaking of things we like; gifts rank right up there.  Gifts are supposed to serve as a reminder of the gift of Jesus — the gift of Immanuel.  But they usually don’t, do they?  They often make us feel stressed, guilty, jealous, unfulfilled, and temporarily cared for.  But they certainly aren’t what Christmas is all about.
  4. Food and Drinks: Now this is my favorite one!  I love Christmas food and drinks!  And in my family that means sausage balls, cookies, eggnog, holiday coffee, and roasted meat.  But these things don’t usually point me or anyone else to the fact that God came to be with us.  In fact they can distract us from Immanuel pretty easily.
  5. Decorations: There’s a show called “The Great American Light Fight” in which people compete for who has the most ridiculously, I mean festively, decorated houses.  And some of our homes look like Christmas vomited in and on them.  And while many of our decorations may point to Immanuel, many of them point to everything else instead.
  6. Status: And really underneath all of these is the fact that we may feel a pull to be more Christmasy than the people down the block.  If our house looks better, our food tastes better, our family is cutre, etc., then we win the holiday competition.  But our fight to be on top, whether pursued explicitly or implicitly, doesn’t point to Immanuel.  It points to our egos and in the end it’s selfish.

Now I’m no Grinch.  I love Christmastime, Christmas food, family at Christmas, Santa and his elves, Christmas movies and music, and everything else yuletidey.

But if these things get in the way of what Christmas is really about — Immanuel — then they need to be moved down the priority list.

This Christmas let’s not forget about Immanuel — the fact that God is with us!


What do you and your family do to keep pointed toward the fact that God is with us?