Prince of Peace
By the Rev. Jason Hamshaw
All Saints Anglican Church
Is peace just a figment of our imagination? What would it really take to accomplish it? Have you ever dreamed of world peace - everyone getting along, hunger gone, health needs met and dangers expelled? It sounds too far-fetched and fanciful, doesn’t it? Ideas reserved for children and beauty queens. Maybe for you the politics of the possible is about being realistic. Still for some, all we can hope for is the quiet moment on the golf course where everything comes together. Just getting through Christmas is ambition enough, as peace in our own house seems impossible. Maybe peace is captured in the moment of joy seen on a child or grandchild’s face, however brief. That moment steals us away from the loneliness and pressures of this world. Harder still is this time for those who lack peace even for a moment. Deep grief lingers as many miss a loved one - Christmas the time of love now highlights heartache.
In the Christmas season many of us are mindful of compassion and kindness to those who are less fortunate. This is a good and worthy thing! Yet gifts to help someone along, a hand out, a help up doesn’t seem to capture real peace on its own. But Jesus’ love captures the longing of our hearts. Jesus is not spare change, a hand out from above. He is God come to be with us in our pain, to be punished for our sin, to bind himself to our humanity, he takes our death so we can have his life. A peace that doesn’t just get along or give you want or need but a peace that treats you as his family.
Peace in any substantial sense must have a way of uniting those who have been at war. Jesus said that his Peace is not as the world gives, not a retirement plan or home insurance. His peace is the offer of restored relationships. It can carry the weight to help bear a snide comment, personal betrayal or even death. This is a peace that the heavens open for with great excitement; a concert for a shepherd tending His sheep. He is not a God of force, using discord to dispel discord, but a God who joins us in the depths of guilt, shame, loneliness and pain, and offers us something new.
Profound is the act of God’s saving grace; the Son of God became man to rescue us from our sin, evil, and death. His plan was peace with himself, which would flow out to the world. This prince of peace is able to love as he is hated. His love forgives even as he is being tortured (think about that for a moment). He came not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved. He’s bringing a world where the wrongs done are really dealt with. Not empty unity - real peace. He is the Child who would be “pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
700 years before Jesus was born Isaiah wrote: “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)
The Messiah is a Son given who is also Mighty God. The Christ child is the Prince of Peace who is filled with the Wonderful Counselor and reveals the Everlasting Father. The Divine Family: Father, Son and Holy Spirit all have dwelt in peace together for all time. The Son was sent to bring peace to a world that had rejected him, offering light in a dark world. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man - in his very being he unites heaven and earth. He alone offers a peace that can save our world. God has the world placed on his shoulders and his offer of peace is not simply a hand out. He steps into our broken world and offers himself. Christ’s peace can carry the weight of humanity - God with us forever.