Reflections on Isaiah 9:1-7
Peace is a word we hear often during the Christmas season, but how often do we pause and reflect on what it really means? Shalom, the Hebrew word in Scripture that’s translated as peace, is not simply quietness or an absence of conflict. It’s a wholeness that restores the world to what it was meant to be.
In the book of Isaiah, the prophet spoke about a new hope that was coming to Israel, a child that would be born to restore this shalom to the world—a Prince of Peace. Jesus, this Prince of Peace who was also given the titles of Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Eternal Father, chose a surprising way to accomplish this. He left a place of perfect peace and moved into a world of chaos, pain, and danger. In order to bring wholeness, Jesus sought peace not through a show of might but through humility and sacrifice.
Seeking peace through sacrifice is a path that many asylum seekers are intimately acquainted with. In recent years, we have seen increasing numbers of people making treacherous journeys through jungles and deserts to escape violence in their countries of origin. Tragically, instead of seeing the face of Jesus in these brothers and sisters, our government has spent tremendous time and resources seeking to deter rather than seeking to restore. The result has been limited access to our asylum process for the vulnerable and an increase in migrant deaths. We long for shalom in our borderlands, and for those in power to see the need for peace rather than a militarized response.
Modern Migration tie in:
- Jesus is described as the Prince of Peace, and the angels declared at his birth, “peace on earth!” In what ways do you see Jesus bringing peace on earth?
- Have you ever experienced living in a neighborhood or city where there was no peace? How does widespread violence affect the ability for a community or a family to flourish?
- Today many asylum seekers who arrive at our border are not fleeing a traditional war, but are facing chronic violence from corrupt governments and transnational criminal organizations. What would you do if your family was trapped in such a situation? Where would you go for safety?
A prayer for peace:
We thank you for your example of seeking peace through sacrifice. We marvel at the love you have for your people!
Our hearts are with the many thousands of people who come to our borders every year seeking peace. We grieve the sacrifices and indignities that they so often face along their journey, and we lament the mistreatment that sometimes comes at the hands of our own government officials.
We ask for your protection and comfort for those who are weighed down by the world’s brokenness. We pray for eyes to see and learn from their courage and faith as they boldly pursue wholeness for themselves and their families.
Prince of Peace, we cry out for your peace on earth today.