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.
(Isaiah 9:6, New International Version)
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven,
and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
(Luke 2:12-14, New Living Translation)
One of the Christmas names of Jesus is Prince of Peace.
Peace is an alien, and widely misunderstood, word to the society I live in.
Peace is not a thesaurus alternative to quiet. What with a stable/barn/cave stuffed with sheltering cattle/goats/sheep; a newborn emptying his lungs through his vocal chords; shepherds running through the town, banging on the windows, rapping at the locks; and a mass choir of yodelling angels disturbing the peace; there’s not much Silent to the natal Night. The Prince of Peace does not come so that we might collapse in a heap in our armchair having closed the door on the last relatives to overstay their welcome.
Peace does not refer (primarily) to an absence of military occupation, or State of War. What with Roman legionaries invigilating the registration of the populace for the purpose of extorting taxation without representation; and an insane client-dictator ordering genocide; there’s no peace for the wicked and the righteous alike at first Christmas. The Prince of Peace sways a sceptre, not a magic wand, in his hand.
Peace is a gift that descends to us from heaven;
that does not pluck us out of the chaotic jumble,
but plucks the chaotic jumble out of us;
with the result that we can live
free from stress and striving, worry and fear,
here on earth.
Wishing you peace this Christmas.