I borrowed this devotion from my husband. It was published in the weekly newsletter he writes for Faribault Lutheran School.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6
Christmas is a time when many are traveling home for Christmas. It is a special time for me because, typically, all of my family gathers together in Nebraska. Of course, I am not talking of my immediate family, but my parents, my siblings, their spouses, their children. On occassion, we have even had a fiancé and a couple of boyfriends thrown into the mix. In all, close to 30 people gather at my parent’s house in Blue Hill, NE. Even though we are separated by miles, my family has always been very close. There seems to be a constant stream of emails as we attempt to coordinate who will bring what to eat, when each group will arrive and where everyone will sleep (a few of the younger members of the group are boycotting the sleep issue). I know that my parents always look forward to having everyone at their home for Christmas, but I am equally as sure that they miss the peace and quiet that is typical in their “retirement” lifestyle.
Peace is a word that we hear often during this time of year. If you look up the word peace in the dictionary, you will find definitions that deal with “the absence of war” or “free from fighting” or “free from disturbance”. These definitions are fine, but I don’t feel that they are quite what Isaiah had in mind when he wrote, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
The peace that the Prince of Peace brings to our lives goes much deeper than external issues like hectic schedules, crowded highways or annoying disturbances; it surpasses physical sickness, poverty and war. The peace that Christ brings to our lives gives us a freedom. Freedom from sin, death, and the power of the devil; it is a peace that only He can give to us. The apostle Paul had a great understanding of this special peace. Take a look at the opening paragraphs in Ephesians, Philippians, or 2 Thessalonians. Do you see the common word that leads to peace? Grace. It is because of God’s grace and His gift of His Son, Jesus, that we can know true peace. A peace that is not of this world but resides with us in this world. During this Advent season, as we make preparation for the coming of our Savior, may the words of Paul find their place both in our hearts and on our lips, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ..” Phil. 1:2 (ESV)