To us a child is born. . . . And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
During the week of Christmas 1914, as World War I raged in Europe, guns and artillery at several points along the western front fell silent. It has been reported that roughly 100,000 British and German troops participated in informal ceasefires, especially on Christmas Day. As German soldiers lighted candles and sang Christmas hymns, the British responded by singing carols of their own. Mass fraternization in no man’s land followed, and some groups exchanged Christmas presents while others played impromptu games of soccer.
Tragically, hostilities resumed shortly after these holiday celebrations. The fighting continued for four more years, killing and maiming millions.
Against the background of humanity’s wars, our biblical passage for today comes across as both striking and hopeful. Looking forward to the coming of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah calls him the Prince of Peace. When Jesus came to live among us, he broke down the walls of hatred that separate us from God and from each other. His death on the cross was the ultimate payment for peace.
And this is not some kind of brief truce. The finished work of Christ guarantees the permanence of God’s blessing: “there will be no end” to the peace he brings. Do you know the Lord’s eternal peace?
Lord and God, fill our hearts and lives with the assurance of your eternal peace. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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