For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
I majored in history in college. One of the things that simply amazes me is the sheer number of conflicts that mark human history. The history of every nation is scarred by war. In our brief history as a nation, we have fought in at least ten major wars and been engaged in several other violent conflicts. One doesn’t have to be a student of history to realize that peace is elusive. We can simply look into our offices, our schools, our neighborhoods, and even our homes. We are indeed a people marked by conflict.
Roughly seven hundred and fifty years before the first Christmas, Isaiah wrote of a coming king who would usher in peace. He would be able to do what no one else has ever been able to do. He would be able to broker a peace between God and man and thus be able to broker a lasting peace between all peoples.
We see this announcement reinforced on the first Christmas night. The angelic messenger announced to the shepherds that the birth of the Messiah would bring peace on whom His favor rests. In other words, Jesus’ life and death would bridge the gap between us and God. He does for us what none of us can do on our own. He rights our relationship with God. And, once our vertical relationship with God is straightened out, then God can work to straighten out our relationships with each other. The only way for us to have real peace is to look to God. Anything else will ultimately fizzle out and come up short.
When we connect with Jesus and embrace the peace He offers, we have peace with the One that matters. Then, with that peace firmly in place, He works in our lives to grow us in order to have peace with others. He begins to chip away at our selfishness and our impatience. He helps us to speak in a way that is graceful yet pointed when it needs to be. And while we will never enjoy ultimate peace here and now, He promises us a time when He will reign and there will be nothing but peace. Peace in our homes. Peace in our neighborhoods. Peace everywhere. That’s definitely something worth studying.