It will not be hard to understand the title of this blog bearing in mind this season of the year. We can so often repeat the well-worn verses or familiar carols without too much thought as to what we are singing. This can be because we are busy rushing from one event to another in between wrapping the Christmas presents, ordering the turkey or maybe collecting a nut roast! Strangely, for many of us, and probably our wives in particular, we do not get very much peace at Christmas! But as we will see, this peace has nothing to do with our level of activity. This peace is somewhere you live from however busy you may be.
This week I asked myself the question, “Why is Jesus the Prince of Peace?” It struck me that there is still not much peace in this world and anyway his own life did not end very peacefully. Yes, it is recorded that ordinary people liked being around Jesus so clearly he carried a peace but I believe it is where he came from that gives us a clue about his title. Whilst Jesus was fully man, it seems that he gradually came to the conclusion that he and God were one and so he learnt to live his life out of that divine union with God. I believe that Jesus the man was the union of human and divine in space and time but (Jesus) The Christ is someone even more profound and it is from here that this title originates.
Jesus the Christ is part of the divine presence that we call Trinity. Trinity is the word that Christians use to describe the three fold individual expressions of God. I love the thought that God is community because community requires love, sharing, caring, submission and being at peace with one another. As someone else has said, one is alone, two are company but three are joy and laughter! It is this divine community of peace and joy that gives this title Prince of Peace authority and substance. This peace is something that is real and can be relied upon. It is a divine characteristic that can become part of yours and my experience and integral to our daily living. However, for this to happen we need to learn to access and be part of this heavenly community.
Of course this is the wonderful message that Jesus the man came to teach us. He tells us that spirit and physical, human and divine, heaven and earth are not separate but that God is all in all. He tells us that we too are sons and daughters of divinity just like himself and so if we choose to we also can access and live from that place of deep peace and joyful relationship. Jesus while on earth lived in the continual conscious awareness of God’s presence. That is also why he could claim the title Prince of Peace. We too can learn to live with a conscious awareness of the presence and union of divinity and that can radically change how we see ourselves and each other. That is how we can be at peace with ourselves and at peace with all others around. Peace in this world can only start with peace in my heart and your heart. Jesus shows us how to live from that place of heavenly peace despite the busyness of this Christmas season or indeed any other busy time. I must warn you though that just as with the heavenly community, living in this peace will require submission and death of the self-will. Jesus also demonstrated it will require you to go aside into solitary aloneness for this to happen.
I was recently spending such a time with God and believe that I heard God say to me “Hush be still. You have nothing to be alarmed about, nothing to be anxious about, nothing to be concerned about and certainly nothing to worry about.” I then saw a picture of a child being held in his mother’s arms. I could sense the comfort, contentment, security and protection and above all I could feel being loved deeply and absolutely. True lasting peace comes from such a mystical experience and not from being told by someone else that you are loved by God or from simply reading that you are loved. The Prince of Peace is still at work in individual hearts the world over. We ourselves can become sons and daughters of Peace by sharing in that divine community of submission, joy, love and peace and living it out within our communities. Oh, and yes, despite my recent experiencing of God as just described, I have been tested on whether I am living from this deep place of peace during a pretty frenetic week!
Joy is not a luxury option; joy is your constant! Your union in the Lord is your permanent source of delight. — Let no anxiety about anything distract you — and in this place of worship and gratitude you will witness how the peace of God within echoes the awareness of your oneness in Christ–. There, Paul says it much better than I can! Philippians. 4:4-7
Thank you for having the patience to stay with my random blogs over the last year. May you and your families know and encounter radical peace over this busy season.