“He will be called…the Prince of Peace.” The prophet Isaiah foretold that the coming Messiah would bring peace. When the angels proclaimed the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, their message was “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Jesus himself told his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you.”
And yet…we aren’t experiencing peace on earth, are we? In the words of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, written during the Civil War:
“And in despair I bowed my head, ‘There is no peace on earth’ I said.
‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth goodwill to men.”
What shall we do? In a world filled with violence and hatred, how should Christians respond? I’d like to recommend that we respond in two ways. First, rest in God’s peace. This is an inward, personal peace that we can experience in spite of the circumstances around us. Jesus told us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Fear can keep us from experiencing the joy that Jesus came to bring us.
Second, be an agent of peace…a peacemaker. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Whether it’s bringing peace among family, friends, and co-workers, or advocating for peace on a larger scale, you are at your most Christ-like when you react to provocations, not with fear and threats, but with the determination to find peaceful resolutions.
During this season when we celebrate the arrival of the Messiah, let’s do what we can to join Him in His work…bringing peace and goodwill to all of the people of this earth. Peace, forgiveness, redemption, joy… all of these are available to us as we live in the light of God’s love. Have a peace-filled and merry Christmas!