Prince of Peace: a Christmas reflection

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Prince of Peace: a Christmas reflection

“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 Counsellor, Mighty God,  Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

This month, I’ve been reflecting on three ways in which Jesus is our Prince of Peace – through peace with God, peace within ourselves, and peace with others.

 Peace with God

It is significant that this beautiful verse in Isaiah, which we so often turn to at Christmas time, begins with incarnation and ends with peace.

How God can come in flesh is a glorious mystery that we will never fully grasp. However, the incarnation was neither unexpected nor unintended. It was the fulfilment of prophecy, and a vital part of God’s perfect plan to make peace with us.

The way in which he came is remarkable. Jesus was no ordinary ‘prince’. He laid aside his glory and became nothing.

We see this humility from his first moments on earth – he passed over Rome and Jerusalem to be cradled in a manger in a stable in Bethlehem. We see it throughout his life – he identified with us and lived among us, taking the form of a servant and the likeness of men. Above all, we see it in his final moments on earth through his obedience and work at Calvary (Philippians 2:8), the reason that we ultimately have ‘peace with God’.

As I look around the CHIPS team, I’m encouraged by the examples I see of people giving up well-paid jobs, secular opportunities and creature comforts in response to Jesus’s example. As we celebrate our ‘peace with God’ this Christmas, it feels timely to ask ourselves again what are we each doing to ‘live out’ the principles of his incarnation in our own lives?

Peace within ourselves

“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

Recently I heard someone say: “God wants us to experience the same peace that he does.” What a thought! As Christians, we never lose our ‘peace with God’ – but we don’t always feel the fullness of Jesus’s peace ‘within ourselves’.

We can lose it when we fail to confess our wrongs; when we become preoccupied by the things of a busy, stressful life; when we stop walking as closely with God in our daily lives as we should; and when we struggle to trust in his plans for us.

I know that I sometimes find myself feeling anxious as a result of all of these things. But Jesus was quite clear to his disciples – and we too need to learn to trust him fully, and leave our fear and worry aside.

Of course, Jesus never promised easy. In fact, he told us to expect tribulation (John 16:33) and trials (James 1:2). But he did promise help, whatever situation we find ourselves in.

There is something special available to us if only we will receive it. It is a peace not “as the world gives”, but a different, unique, deep-inside kind of peace that is unrelated to circumstance. This is a peace that I often see in the conviction and confidence of our CHIPS youth workers and volunteers in Brixton, and our remarkable team in Ghana, as they go about their daily work – and it inspires me.

This time of year can be difficult for people for all sorts of personal reasons. But whatever our situation, let us learn to trust fully in him and receive the peace of Jesus ‘within ourselves’ this Christmas.

Peace with others

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” Matthew 5:9

The third way in which Jesus is the Prince of Peace is that he calls us to be his peacemakers. Peace one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and, if we are growing in our faith, peace is something that others will be able to see in our lives.

We are instructed to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12: 18); to seek peace and pursue it (1 Peter 3:11); and to “make every effort to do what leads to peace” (Romans 14:19).

Peace is something that we should each strive for, and it is proof of our faith. One question I’m therefore asking myself this Christmas is, when others look at my life, do they see me as a peacemaker?

The year-end provides an opportunity to review our personal role as peacemakers.

Perhaps I’m estranged from someone, and Christmas gives me an opportunity to set things right. Maybe I’m feeling challenged by the divisions I see in our communities and our society right now and there is an opportunity for me to do something practical to help bring healing, in some small way. Or it might be that there’s a specific peacemaking cause here or abroad that God is prompting me to get more involved in – whether directly or by supporting other peacemakers.

Wherever we find ourselves this Christmas, let’s pray that we’ll understand and respond to our calling as peacemakers and work to make ‘peace with others’.

Darragh Gray, Marketing and Communications Manager