Centered on Peace This Christmas
Finding shalom in turbulent times
In these unsettling times, the peace we have in Jesus should bring us immense encouragement. What better time than the Christmas season, to enter in and receive His peace.
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)
Most of us are probably familiar with the Hebrew word for peace—shalom. When we think of shalom, what usually comes to mind is the absence of conflict, adversity, or war. The meaning, however, is much broader, extending to prosperity, welfare, deliverance, and salvation.
Understanding the meaning behind the word reveals that centering yourself on peace affords you much more than safety from war or worldwide turmoil. Embracing shalom is to receive hope for the future amid the turmoil—a hope found only in Jesus.
In Isaiah 9.6, the prophet spoke these words about seven-hundred years before Messiah’s birth. Today, we acknowledge this as a prediction of a Savior to come.
Jesus did come, and taught his followers these words, recorded in John 16.33.
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
In a world of turmoil, we can take heart, because we serve the One who has overcome all turbulence and tribulation.
Isaiah lived during the era in bible history often described as the divided kingdom. By 930 BC, Israel had become a fractured nation limping through turbulent times.
The hope-filled message in Isaiah 9.6 makes four declarations to God’s people concerning a coming Messiah—he would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Living in our own turbulent season, we can embrace the hope found in Isaiah’s words. Each of the four titles for Messiah in this verse are worthy of an entire blog post, but for now, let’s focus on the title Prince of Peace.
The future hope of Isaiah’s words was a message of rescue for a people living not only in turbulent times, but in rebellion against God. This Messianic prophecy (God’s words delivered through His servant-prophet) offered shalom for the days ahead, and the opportunity to make things right with God.
In this Christmas season, who among us needs a taste of shalom. Perhaps there is even a reader or two in need of forgiveness or a rescue. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is still in the business of all the above.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.7 ESV
This beloved verse in Philippians is a New Testament fulfillment of Isaiah 9.6. The peace of God, in the form of Jesus Christ, came to earth that we might know unexplainable peace—in good times, and when experiencing turbulence, trials, disappointment, confusion, or fear.
Even at Christmas, when it seems our world-as-we-know-it is sliding down a slippery slide of no return, we can be at peace—because we know the Prince of Peace who holds the whole world in his hands.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15.13