Right now, how many wars do you think are happening around the globe? The United Nations has three criteria for a conflict to be called a war: First, it must involve armed struggle by at least one province against another. Second, it must be formally declared. And third, it must have been going on for at least six months. Using these standards, there are 134 wars taking place around the world at the time this was written.
Is it any wonder we long for the Prince of Peace to return? Tomorrow is the fourth Sunday of Advent, for which the traditional theme is peace. Today’s word of Messianic prophecy names the Lord using several related titles and word-pictures. His coming, wrote Isaiah, will be like a light in the darkness, like the hope of dawn’s arrival (v. 2). Jesus called Himself the “light of the world” (John 8:12), and His disciple Peter later celebrated God’s calling us “out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). In the shorter term, though God had allowed the conquest and exile of His disobedient people, one day He would shatter the yoke of oppression and liberate them, just as in the days of Gideon (vv. 3–4). The picture of burning the warrior’s boots (v. 5) indicates the arrival of a time of peace. In the longer term, God would send a once-for-all liberator, Messiah Jesus, who would fulfill God’s plan of redemption (vv. 6–7). He would be the Wonderful Counselor, acting in marvelous wisdom; the Mighty God, or all-powerful Divine Warrior (see Ps. 24:8); the Everlasting Father, provider, and protector (see 2 Sam. 7:16); and the Prince of Peace, the One who will bring not only the end of all wars but also complete shalom or holistic well-being (see Isa. 11:6–9).
>> If you enjoy classical Christmas music, one album I love that includes all the themes of Advent is Angels’ Glory, featuring Kathleen Battle (voice) and Christopher Parkening (guitar). Listen to your favorite Christmas music as a part of your worship time today.
Lord Jesus, you are the ultimate victor, and we rejoice that your victory guarantees a future of peace. Fill our hearts and minds with your peace today.