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Jesus Christ: Peace incarnate and the bringer of peace

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, New York City.
The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, New York City. | REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

It’s that time of year again. What the famous Christmas song Silver Bells calls “all this bustle” is in full swing. Parents are frantically searching every department store for that one last gift. Children are checking their own wishlists twice before they send them off to the big bearded man.  You’ve heard the common mantra, “Jesus is the reason for the season," and I would like to encourage people to consider that in all seasons, peace is not some metaphorical thing to be felt, but a person.

It might be hard to understand how Jesus Christ, the incarnation of God, can simultaneously bepeace and bringpeace. Luke 2:14 tells us He brought “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”  But where did such active peace come from?

Was it the Messiah’s words and deeds that calmed the shepherds? Was it His assurance of salvation that put Mary’s heart at ease? If this is the case, it surely did not come from the mouth of an unable-to-speak-yet baby Jesus. It must have been a conglomeration of two things: the baby in the manger was the one every prophecy was about, and that infant, that holy Son of God, was the pure embodiment of peace.

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Jesus Christ’s arrival to earth through miraculous and unlikely means (the Virgin Birth) is startling for many reasons. It is an impossible feat that Mary didn’t even know she would be the host until the appearance of the angel. Without the presence of God and the forthcoming Jesus, she would have been in utter delusion, disarrayed by the idea of an immaculate conception. We see in Matthew 1:20-25, there was clearly unrest from Joseph at the time as well.

As John Piper notes in Good News of Great Joy, even Mary and Joseph’s travel to Bethlehem, as prophesied in Micah 5:2, was providential. It was a sovereign action by God to govern the known world by way of consensus to return to their hometowns. Nor was the unrest experienced by Mary and Joseph merely personal. In Matthew 2:16, the threat of death from King Herod in later years caused political unrest.

The hope and peace that Mary had were not ultimately in whatever comforting words Joseph might have offered or even in the gifts that wise men brought them later, but rather in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. The same goes for any restless soul today.

The eternal became finite and the immortal became bruisable and vulnerable so He might be broken, in a state of total conflict, in our place.  Paul reconciles the concept of Christ beingour peace while also bringing us peace in Ephesians 2:14-16, where he proclaims that “He himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility…so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross.”

This Christ, whose birth millions around the world will celebrate this month, calmed the racing hearts of people in need of healing, thus fulfilling a prophecy of Isaiah. He showed compassion to rejects and He sat with sinners. He was hung on the cursed tree for three days, bearing the weight of every un-peace so that everyone who believed in Him thereafter would be faithfully unburdened by it.

He himself truly is our peace. The Savior who broke all hostility at the end of His life to bring peace garnered this innate beauty of the most calming quality so many years ago. When pressed by the perplexities of this holiday season, extend your anxious hand to the hands of peace. Peace is a person, and you can embrace him this Christmas.

Justin Bower is a student at Liberty University pursuing a degree in American Sign Language Interpretation with a minor in Biblical Studies. When he's not writing op-ed articles for The Liberty Champion or other Christian news sources, he writes for his personal blog and record/produce a podcast called Beggar & Bread.

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