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.
Since the dawn of history, people have longed for lives of quiet fruitfulness, enjoying peace and prosperity, surrounded by family and friends. Some have enjoyed peace in some ways, but far too many lives have been marred by conflict, violence, greed, and hate in this broken world.
The longing of every human heart is for shalom. Shalom, the Hebrew word used in the Old Testament for "peace," consists of far more than the absence of conflict. Shalom entails human flourishing in right relationship with the Creator God, with our fellow creatures, and with all of God's creation. With the words "To us a child is born," we glimpse in our reading from Isaiah both the hope for shalom and the promise of shalom realized.
In this child, God doesn't promise Israel (or the world) paradise under the rule of an ideal king on this earth as we know it. Because of the indelible stain of sin our first parents passed on to us all, no earthly ruler could ever bring about such a blissful state. Isaiah proclaims the arrival not of an ideal earthly king but of the "Prince of Peace," Jesus Christ, God himself.
Give thanks that our "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" has come, and serve him today as you anticipate his coming again, when God's kingdom will be all in all.
Jesus, Prince of Peace, fill us with peace as we serve you and anticipate your coming again to reign in shalom forever. Amen.
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