For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
What is the worst part of a vacation? Preparing for it! Taking care of all the tasks that need to be done before a family getaway is downright chaotic and stressful! Are the suitcases properly packed? Do the kids have everything they need? Did you line up someone to take care of the pets and check on the house? Is there anything you have forgotten? The stress of vacation preparation sometimes makes you wonder if the trip is worth the hassle!
But then you finally leave. At some point, peace and calm begin to settle in your mind and slow down your once-racing pulse. Maybe that moment comes when you pull out of the driveway. Maybe it’s when everyone takes a seat on the plane. The preparation is done. Now you can breathe deeply, relax, and feel at peace during the vacation days before you.
On the Fourth Sunday in Advent, Christians are on the verge of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Our busy Advent preparations will soon give way to the peace that the Christ Child came to bring his people.
The peace that flows from Jesus’ birth is so much greater than any earthly comparison we could make. That’s because this peace is not simply a relaxed feeling. This peace is the cessation of war! Your sins and my sins and the sins of the whole human race led to a holy war between God and humankind. And God’s justice demands that those who rebel against him be eternally sentenced for their war crimes. But God’s love fulfilled those demands in his perfect Son, the one whom Isaiah calls the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). The perfect Son of God endured the perfect justice of his Father for our sin, taking our punishment on himself and restoring us to a peaceful relationship with his Father.
For earthly families broken by sin and hurt by tension, the Prince of Peace comes as a child who was born to be our brother. Through our faith in that child, his heavenly Father has become our Father who welcomes us into his family of peace and forgiveness.
All four candles surrounding the Advent wreath are now lit. Turn off the lights in your home, sit in the soft glow of the candlelight, and enjoy a moment of peaceful ambiance. But remember that the peace Jesus came to bring is so much more than ambiance. His peace comes from blood-bought forgiveness. His peace is eternal, and we will bask in its glow forever.
O Jesus our Savior, you came to bring peace to a world broken by sin. Heal our hearts with the good news of your grace so that we may find true peace in your forgiveness and the promise of everlasting life. Amen.
This Advent devotion is brought to you by Forward in Christ magazine. For an enhanced version of this devotion including a flipbook and video or to read other devotions in this series, visit forwardinchrist.net/advent-2023.