Advent Week 4: Prince of Peace


"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” — Isaiah 9:6-7



As Christmas approaches, unrest often characterizes the final weeks of the year. Wrapping paper scraps and fragments of ribbon constantly linger in the corners of our vision and schedules seem to burst at the seams. As loved ones draw near, we disrupt our usual schedules to create unencumbered time. Amidst this, we somehow also find time for pajama-clad traditions and moments of peace as we reflect on the closing of the year. Chaos and peace seem constantly at odds as Advent culminates with Christmas.

The life of Christ reflects much of the same juxtaposition. The final descriptor for the coming Messiah laid out in Isaiah 9 is “Prince of Peace”—peace is both something that Jesus embodies but also something the world he enters into desperately needs. Most clearly, peace in the prophecy of Isaiah 9 is a nation without war because the Messiah has conquered their enemies: “his government and its peace will never end.” In addition to this macro-level notion of peace, Jesus offers a quieter kind of peace. Into the anxiety and distress of the mundane moments and the chaos of our lives alike, Christ offers stillness, assurance, and comfort. Jesus as Prince of Peace makes God’s shalom available to each of us in every moment of our lives.

Still, in reflecting on the Advent story, we recognize that the coming of Jesus was anything but peaceful for so many involved. Mary, young and unwed, was met with angels and dreams that dramatically altered the stable and peaceful life she anticipated as a soon-to-be carpenter’s wife. Through her pregnancy, Joseph and Mary’s quiet engagement became filled with speculation and doubt. As she prepared to give birth, the whole country was thrown into upheaval as government edict sent every family back to their ancestral lands. Then, with only a stable and a manger, Jesus was born into the company of not only his parents but also unanticipated local shepherds who had been suddenly frightened by angels and yet still rejoiced in the news.

But that wasn’t the end of the chaos. Fear and insecurity over Jesus’ birth pushed King Herod to enact mass infanticide leaving countless families in unspeakable grief and Mary and Joseph fleeing into Egypt. Finally, as Jesus was exiting those toddler years, Mary’s life returned to Galilee and as normal of a rhythm as she could have, considering her child. Jesus, although peaceful in temperament, seemed to ignite sparks of chaos everywhere he went as he upended the culture around him.

Even though Christ’s earthly life was riddled with turmoil and enemies, there is no doubt that Prince of Peace is an apt descriptor for him. Jesus has a way of calming those around him, from Mary’s assurance throughout her pregnancy, to the lives of those he healed, to the thief by his side as he was crucified. Christ leaves people resting in peace, both during his earthly life and now. When we think of peace, we often envision a calm stillness; a genial passive state. But the perfect peace of God, transformative and restorative, is so much more. It is not negated by the presence of struggles or challenges in our lives; rather amidst these challenges, the peace of Christ is a buoy we can cling to. In an uncertain world, the redemptive love of Jesus brings order and certainty, assuring us that we are saved through grace.

The nature of the Christmas season has become a time defined by the chaos of traveling, events, gifts, and so much more. But the beauty of Advent is that, like Mary, we get to ponder and treasure the peace that Christ brings to us through the holy moments found in this season. In our moments of rest, we get to embrace the light of peace and warmth in an otherwise dark and chaotic time. The Prince of Peace continues to comfort us as we continue to anxiously wait for the Messiah’s eternal reign to come.


Words: Sabrina Dawson
Images: Luc van Loon, Erol Ahmed, Nils Leonhardt

Snow-covered trees on a mountaintop
Snow-covered mountaintops
A range of mountains dusted with snow
Trees on the horizon of a snowy field
Snow-covered trees on a mountaintop

"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” — Isaiah 9:6-7



As Christmas approaches, unrest often characterizes the final weeks of the year. Wrapping paper scraps and fragments of ribbon constantly linger in the corners of our vision and schedules seem to burst at the seams. As loved ones draw near, we disrupt our usual schedules to create unencumbered time. Amidst this, we somehow also find time for pajama-clad traditions and moments of peace as we reflect on the closing of the year. Chaos and peace seem constantly at odds as Advent culminates with Christmas.

The life of Christ reflects much of the same juxtaposition. The final descriptor for the coming Messiah laid out in Isaiah 9 is “Prince of Peace”—peace is both something that Jesus embodies but also something the world he enters into desperately needs. Most clearly, peace in the prophecy of Isaiah 9 is a nation without war because the Messiah has conquered their enemies: “his government and its peace will never end.” In addition to this macro-level notion of peace, Jesus offers a quieter kind of peace. Into the anxiety and distress of the mundane moments and the chaos of our lives alike, Christ offers stillness, assurance, and comfort. Jesus as Prince of Peace makes God’s shalom available to each of us in every moment of our lives.

Still, in reflecting on the Advent story, we recognize that the coming of Jesus was anything but peaceful for so many involved. Mary, young and unwed, was met with angels and dreams that dramatically altered the stable and peaceful life she anticipated as a soon-to-be carpenter’s wife. Through her pregnancy, Joseph and Mary’s quiet engagement became filled with speculation and doubt. As she prepared to give birth, the whole country was thrown into upheaval as government edict sent every family back to their ancestral lands. Then, with only a stable and a manger, Jesus was born into the company of not only his parents but also unanticipated local shepherds who had been suddenly frightened by angels and yet still rejoiced in the news.

But that wasn’t the end of the chaos. Fear and insecurity over Jesus’ birth pushed King Herod to enact mass infanticide leaving countless families in unspeakable grief and Mary and Joseph fleeing into Egypt. Finally, as Jesus was exiting those toddler years, Mary’s life returned to Galilee and as normal of a rhythm as she could have, considering her child. Jesus, although peaceful in temperament, seemed to ignite sparks of chaos everywhere he went as he upended the culture around him.

Even though Christ’s earthly life was riddled with turmoil and enemies, there is no doubt that Prince of Peace is an apt descriptor for him. Jesus has a way of calming those around him, from Mary’s assurance throughout her pregnancy, to the lives of those he healed, to the thief by his side as he was crucified. Christ leaves people resting in peace, both during his earthly life and now. When we think of peace, we often envision a calm stillness; a genial passive state. But the perfect peace of God, transformative and restorative, is so much more. It is not negated by the presence of struggles or challenges in our lives; rather amidst these challenges, the peace of Christ is a buoy we can cling to. In an uncertain world, the redemptive love of Jesus brings order and certainty, assuring us that we are saved through grace.

The nature of the Christmas season has become a time defined by the chaos of traveling, events, gifts, and so much more. But the beauty of Advent is that, like Mary, we get to ponder and treasure the peace that Christ brings to us through the holy moments found in this season. In our moments of rest, we get to embrace the light of peace and warmth in an otherwise dark and chaotic time. The Prince of Peace continues to comfort us as we continue to anxiously wait for the Messiah’s eternal reign to come.


Words: Sabrina Dawson
Images: Luc van Loon, Erol Ahmed, Nils Leonhardt

Snow-covered mountaintops

Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.


Additional readings

Finding God in Mystery and Wonder

How mystery and wonder invites us to seek God in newer and deeper ways.

On Relinquishing Control, A Prayer for Anxiety

Reflective thoughts and study of Philippians 4:6-7 on how God is in control in the midst of anxiety.

Creativity as Devotional Practice

A reflection on how we can approach the creative process as a devotional practice.

Listening with Intention

Adapting our daily rhythms to hear where the Spirit is leading.