If you don’t feel it yet, you will. For most of us, the end of the year is just plain bonkers. Most of us are hustling through those last few work projects, trying to pick out the perfect gifts for friends and family, trying to find time to see all of our friends and family, and on and on and on the list continues.
The holiday season, supposedly built around a commitment to be thankful and celebrate Jesus, can easily be corrupted by stress and busyness and stuff and excess. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often find myself lounging on the couch at the end of another December day thinking, “Ahh… this is the peaceful break I’ve been waiting for!”
Throughout this crazy season, if you spend any time at all at church, you will likely encounter the famous prophecy from Isaiah about the coming of a Savior:
“For unto us a Child is born… and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
This list of names has become so familiar, we tend to breeze right past it without giving the names much thought. For a moment, I want to focus on that last name: the Prince of Peace.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
If you look up “peace” in a dictionary, you’ll find words like…Tranquility. Quiet. Harmony. Accord. Freedom.
That kind of peace is lacking today, no? Do you feel an over-abundance of tranquility in your life? Don’t you just regularly run into people on the street complaining that their lives are juuussstt a little too harmonious? Our world needs just a little more noise, divisiveness and oppression, right?
Would you rather?
Think about it: What single thing — physical or otherwise — do you desire more than peace? If you had to choose between the two, would you rather have a really great job, or peace? What if you were offered $1 million, or a lifetime of peace? A dating relationship, or peace? Think of any gadget, any status, any position, any relationship: What would you rather have than a lifetime of peace?
For me, the list is pretty short. Maybe peace is so appealing because it is so rare. This peace Isaiah is talking about is the Hebrew word shalom that you’ve probably heard before. That word is deeper than the idea of peace between nations or a friendship without conflict. This peace is deep, often defined as “completeness.” A complete lack of want, and a complete trust in God.
Jesus is the Prince of that peace.
Let’s look at a couple other verses. Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He said:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
As the Prince of Peace, Jesus is able to give us a type of peace the world can’t match. He doesn’t give like the world gives; He leaves us with deep, real peace—His shalom.
One more verse, again the words of Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
According to this verse, we are called children of God if we are peacemakers.
Making peace is a verb. Peacemaking requires action. We have God’s peace within us, but we still live in a world where making peace requires effort.
That makes sense, right? Left to our own devices, there’s a noticeable lack of peace, especially with the hubbub of this holiday season. (Side note: Maybe that’s why “Silent Night” remains a treasured classic. Doesn’t it sound nice to “sleep in heavenly peace”?)
So what does all of this mean?
We’re called to be peacemakers. Where peace is absent or lacking, we as the children of God can help bring a little shalom to the chaos of our world.
Show the world what God’s peace can look like. Don’t give in to the temptation to rush and compete and spend and run and drain yourself. That is not what Christmas is about.
This holiday season, carve out time to be at peace. Slow down. Turn off devices. Reflect on God’s Word. Don’t add to the noise; instead, be a peacemaker. Show kindness. Give with joy. Take time to be still and know that He is God. Lie down in the metaphorical green pastures of Psalm 23, allowing Jesus to lead you beside quiet waters and refresh your soul.
Deep peace is attractive and appealing, and maybe collectively we can help make and spread the peace the world so desperately desires.