For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. – Isaiah 9:6-7
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors! – Luke 2:14
Many of our reflections these past twenty-three days have dealt, in one way or another, with time. And for good reason–Advent is about anticipation. We bide our time until we celebrate Christ’s first coming at Christmas, just as we bide our time until Christ’s second coming in the End Days. Advent Season reminds us that we are a people caught between two arrivals: Christ came yesterday, and he will come again tomorrow. But where does this leave us today?
The lectionary reading for Christmas is concerned far less with time than we are. It is, instead, concerned with something very close to the opposite of time: peace.
The prophet Isaiah tells us that the Lord is wise Counselor, powerful God, and loving Father, but above all, he is Prince of Peace. When all is said and all is done, Jesus rules over the peace that turns swords into plowshares, storms into calm, worry into rest, sin into salvation, and time into eternity. In Luke 2:14, this peace comes in the first arrival, when the Lord takes on flesh and dwells among us. In Isaiah 9:7, this peace promises to come again in the second arrival, when Christ returns in power and reigns on the throne of David forevermore. But what does peace look like in the time between the life of Christ the child and the reign of Christ the king?
The prophet Isaiah answers once again: peace cannot come without its Prince. Authority rests upon the shoulders of the Christ, and as His authority grows, so does His peace. Wars cease, bows break, spears shatter, and kingdoms heal when we recognize the Lord’s sovereignty. In our own lives, rest, security, and comfort come in direct proportion to the amount of control we cede to Christ. Our white flags turn into white robes of righteousness. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there Peace will be also.
Isaiah’s key insight is that we do not have to wait until the second coming to expand God’s kingdom on Earth, and with it, God’s peace. The Lord’s authority is “growing continually”–not tomorrow, but today. We look around the world, and we see more believers in Christ than at any point in history. We look inside ourselves, and we see the potential to develop a relationship with Christ deeper than at any point in our life. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.
Christ told us on the cross that it is finished, but he also told us to pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Peace has come, God’s authority is established, but his power is still growing wider and deeper in the world around us and inside us. And with his authority comes peace–peace in the knowledge that Christ has come, that Christ will come again, and that Christ is still coming every day.
Merry Christmas to all, and hallelujah to Christ our King!
Lauren Spohn ’20 is a senior in Currier House studying English.