“Peace on earth” is a popular saying at Christmastime. We speak it as a warm greeting of holiday cheer and goodwill. We wish our neighbors a Merry Christmas and a peaceful holiday season. In our homes, the desire for peace usually means the easing of chaotic schedules and family conflict. Nationally and globally, we pray for racial and political tensions, and most of all, wars to cease.
Unfortunately, this well-intentioned spirit of Christmas cannot accomplish the peace we truly desire. Long before “peace on earth” became a common slogan of Christmas decor, angels brought news to shepherds of a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. In their triumphant declaration, they proclaimed “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased.” This angelic promise of peace is so imbedded in our Christmas culture that it has sadly lost its true meaning. Peace on earth is not a sweet statement of goodwill, but a holy proclamation of the very presence of God on earth in a new way.
God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Prince of Peace. Jesus came as the perfect God-man, not as a symbol of peace, but as the agent of peace, to reconcile us to God. Peace on earth that resides deep down in the soul can only come from Him. No person, power, or privilege on earth can accomplish this.
Why do we need Jesus to reconcile us to God? Because sin has separated us from Him. We cannot receive true peace without receiving Jesus Christ. He came to restore His people to the Father, so that we may have the very presence of God, not just on earth, but in our own hearts. This peace permeates every part of our lives.
The Beauty of Christmas
The beauty of the Christmas season is that it gives us time to reflect on the coming of the Prince of Peace. This is why the time leading up to Christmas is called Advent. Advent means “coming.” During this time, we eagerly, quietly, and expectantly await our Savior. Every Christmas is an opportunity to celebrate again the wonder of the One who did not hold onto His position as the King of Heaven, but put off His glory for a time to become our Prince of Peace.
“For unto us a child is born, unto 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.”