Jesus – Prince of Peace
WWI began just over 97 years ago. By the end of the war, 15 million would die, 20 million more wounded. The largest scale of casualties in history.
The last combat veteran was Claude Choules who served in the British Royal Navy (and later the Royal Australian Navy), and died 5 May 2011, aged 110 (wikipedia.com)
Less than 6 months into the war, an astounding event occurred on Christmas Eve, 1914.
STARTED with candles on a Christmas tree.
Then, Carols in German, English and French
Then, greetings of Merry Christmas English soldier.
Lasted through Christmas Eve
On CHRISTMAS DAY, soldiers were out of their trenches,
buttons from their uniforms and
One English soldier wrote of the German soldiers love for “Christmas Pudding.” “If we would have had an ample supply of Christmas pudding, every German on the lines would have surrendered” (Private Frederick W. Heath, http://open.salon.com/blog/lost_in_berlin/2011/12/23/the_christmas_truce_of_1914_an_eyewitness_writes_home
Gary Kohls documents the events in his story.
“An over-confidant Kaiser Wilhelm had even ordered 100,000 Christmas trees, with candles for decoration, to be delivered to the German trenches for Christmas, …to boost morale. And then the spontaneous events happened at various points on the 700-mile-long trench lines that stretched all across France. The singing of Christmas carols started an extraordinary chain of events that culminated in acts of mass treason that would never be duplicated in the history of warfare. One of the best-loved versions of the story was that the Germans started singing “Stille Nacht” and the British responded by singing the English language version, “Silent Night.” Then, the French and Scots joined in and all sides sang together in their own tongues, the Scots accompanying the Germans with their bagpipes.”
Gary Kohls, “The Christmas Truce of 1014” http://consortiumnews.com/2011/12/16/the-christmas-truce-of-1914
Stanley Weintraub, wrote about this unique night in his 2002 book, “Silent Night.”
For a moment, Jesus brought PEACE.
Why Does Peace Escape Us?
The year was 734 BC. Judah was at WAR. In a time of great struggle and fear, the prophet Isaiah was given a message of great HOPE. The promised Deliverer would be……
Mighty God (El Gibbor)
Prince of Peace
The word in Hebrew is œar š lôm. This kind of peace means more than just the absence of war. It means “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace” (Brown, Drivers and Briggs Hebrew lexicon).
Sar Salom can also mean “welfare.” When Joseph asked about the “welfare” of his father Jacob. Genesis 43:27 “And he inquired about their welfare and said, “Is your father well, the old man of whom you spoke? Is he still alive?”
Sar Salom can also mean “safety.” Jonathon sends David away in safety. 1 Samuel 20:13 “But should it please my father to do you harm, the Lord do so to Jonathan and more also if I do not disclose it to you and send you away, that you may go in safety. May the Lord be with you, as he has been with my father.”
It can also mean “well being.” Elijah asked the Shunimite in 2 Kings 4:25–26 “So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When the man of God saw her coming, he said to Gehazi his servant, “Look, there is the Shunammite. Run at once to meet her and say to her, ‘Is all well with you? Is all well with your husband? Is all well with the child?’ ” And she answered, “All is well.”
Sar Salom can mean “prosperity.” Psalm 72:3 “Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!”
In Isaiah 26, Sar Salom meant “perfect peace.” Shalom Shalom! Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
So this word is filled with good news, good thoughts and blessing to the one who hears it.
But our world is not filled with peace. It’s not now, and it was not filled with peace in 734 BC. Our HEARTS are ruined because of sin. Isaiah 59:8 “The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace.”
I found this story both fascinating and disturbing. We lived in Lancaster County for many years. For a while, I was sold ice cream to various country stores and farmers markets. I had many Amish customers and got to know their peaceful ways. I was shocked to hear that a sort of Amish war took place not long ago! Peace loving, Pacifist AMISH. According to ABC news, Nov. 23, 2011, “seven Amish men have been charged with hate crimes for cutting the beards and hair of Amish men in a different religious sect. The men, all family members of bishop Samuel Mullet, Sr., allegedly forcibly restrained multiple Amish men and cut their beards and hair with scissors and battery powered clippers, injuring the men and others who tried to stop the attacks, according to a statement by the Department of Justice. The attacks grew out of a religious feud between Mullet and the wider church, according to the criminal complaint against the Mullet family. Mullet, as the head of the Bergholz clan sect of the church, excommunicated eight families who chose to leave the sect under his rule. His decision was investigated by the 300-member bishops council of the Amish church, which determined that the excommunications were vindictive and unfair, and overruled them.”
We know that peace is hard to find when battles occur between the most peace loving people one could possibly think of!
Our ENVIRONMENT is ruined because of sin. All around us, we see war, violence and crime. It makes us jaded. It causes us to despair. Like the Christmas song ” I heard the Bells on Christmas Day, we reflect sadly on the fact that “there is no peace on earth.”
Without God’s Grace, THERE IS NO HOPE. Isaiah 57:21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.””
The answer is that Jesus is our peace. This is the good news of Christmas! Luke 2:14 “”Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.””
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
How Can We Have Peace?
BELIEVE and you will have the Peace WITH God. Isaiah 53:1 “Who has BELIEVED our report? This was the message to Isaiah.
Jesus made peace through his BLOOD. Colossians 1:19–22 “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—”
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ” “and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. ” “God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—”
Walk with Jesus and You will have the PEACE OF GOD
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”
I mentioned the song, “I heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” That song was written in 1860 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. For the famous American author, life was well.
After the death of his first wife, Marry Potter. He met Francis Appleton. He courted her for seven years! She finally said yes! The years that followed were years of fame and success for Henry and Francis. He earned an excellent income from his literary works and was becoming a popular American author. Fanny and Henry had six children.
Henry was elated over the election of Abraham Lincoln which he thought would bring peace and freedom to the nation.
The following year, Civil War began. It was July 9, 1861. Fanny was sealing locks of her daughter’s hair using hot wax. Henry was asleep in the next room. He awoke to Fanny’s screams and rushed into the room to find Fanny engulfed in flames. Henry covered the flames with a rug, burning his own hands and face, but his efforts could not save his beloved wife. Fannie died 12 hours later. Henry was too badly injured to even attend her funeral.
His face was so badly burned that he could no longer shave. His heavy white beard becoming a trademark of his persona.
His diaries tell the story of his life:
Christmas Day, 1861: “How inexpressibly sad are the holidays”
Christmas, 1862: A merry Christmas say the children, but that is no more for me”
in 1863 his son ran away to join the Union Army. He returned in December badly injured. There is no journal entry for 1863.
But on Christmas Day, 1864, Longfellow sat down to try to capture, if possible, the joy of the season. He began…
I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet, the words repeat, of peace on earth, good will to men.
As he came to the third stanza, he reflected on his world. War. Gettysburg. His son. So many young men had died….
And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”
Until Jesus comes again and enforces His rule, peace is something that comes to us one heart at a time.
“He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”
“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. ” “The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. ” “The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. ” “They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”
“Justice will dwell in the desert and righteousness live in the fertile field.”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”
Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
Jesus is the only way that we can know true peace.
Give him your troubles and trade them for his peace.