For a child will be born to us…and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NASB
It was mid-January, but my co-worker’s handmade Christmas sign still hung in large letters over his desk: “Peace on Earth.” I looked at it and marveled at the irony of those words. The previous day, America had been living in peacetime. But today, January 17, 1991, our troops had been mobilized and we were witnessing the beginning of the Persian Gulf War.
My mind traveled back to 1973 when the U.S. started pulling troops out of Vietnam. That war had been going on for as long as I could remember. When someone scribbled “Peace at last” on a classroom wall at school, I gazed at that bit of graffiti with surprise. I didn’t even know peace was possible. I assumed a world at war was simply the natural order of things.
And so it is, if you really think about it. Maybe our own country isn’t always actively at war (although we’re just now ending the eleven-year war in Iraq and Afghanistan that followed the Persian Gulf War), but at any given time, dozens of wars are being fought all over the world. In spite of peace talks, peace accords, the global peace movements, the Peace Corp, “Visualize World Peace,” and well-meaning groups singing “Give Peace a Chance,” there is never peace on earth. Never.
Why, then, did the angels greet the shepherds by saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14, KJV)? I believe it was because they were announcing the fulfillment of the promise given in Isaiah 9:6. The child who had been born that night in a manger was the Prince of Peace. His coming marked a new revelation of God’s redeeming work in the world, and yet Christ’s life and death are threaded throughout with additional promises that continue to turn our eyes to what is not yet seen.
Though the world as we know it now churns with the constant chaos of war, don’t lose hope. Some of God’s greatest Christmas gifts—including peace on earth–are still to come.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for bringing peace to our hearts as we look to the final coming of your peace on earth.
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Ann Tatlock is a two-time winner of the Christy Award for her novels All the Way Home and Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association “Book of the Year” in fiction for both All the Way Home and I’ll Watch the Moon. Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her “one of Christian fiction’s better wordsmiths, saying “her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories.” Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina. Visit www.anntatlock.com.