When you think of peace, perhaps you think of somewhere quiet and calm, far from noise and distraction. Perhaps you imagine time with loved ones and close friends.
For me, peace is being with my family. Having everyone in the house at Christmas time is a time of joy and peace for me.
Maybe, though, your mental picture of peace is a little more detailed. Maybe you can’t help but hope for restored personal health or the restored health of a loved one. Maybe more financial security, a better family dynamic, or less violence in your community immediately come to mind.
I get it. Peace can often elude us.
But regardless of what you imagine or why, most of us can agree on this: our lives are not always peaceful, and we think we know why.
Around Christmas, ‘peace on earth,’ as the old song goes, can feel so close and yet so far from each of us. It’s as if all God had to do was move this one small obstacle or send a little bit of help and all would be well in our world.
And yet, he sent Jesus. Into this messy place with all its problems, God sent a baby.
The Prince of Peace?
Interestingly enough, amidst their own sea of questions and skepticism, the Israelite prophets of old assumed that their coming Messiah would bring peace. The prophet Isaiah foretold Christ’s coming thousands of years before the Incarnation ever took place—long before the days of Mary, Joseph, or those lowly shepherds. He writes in Isaiah 9:
“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.”
Now, those verses claim quite a list of good things.
As we are in the midst of a government shutdown, I don’t think the “government is on his shoulders.” And, not far from where Jesus was born, war in Syria wages on and “the greatness of his government” does not seem to be bring peace of which there “will be no end” right now.
Yes, this is where Jesus was born. He came into the backwaters of the Roman Empire in a midst of a chaotic region and a chaotic time. And, he did not do what people expected.
He did not throw off the yoke of the Romans, nor exercise overt political power. He did not bring peace to all the wars that waged then. His peace wasn’t going to be brought on by political power, all-out war, or a land grabbing campaign.
This is the key for us to understand peace today.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christianity Today, Ed Stetzer and Gabriella Siefert