The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Christmas Illuminations: Peace in the Particular

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.

ISAIAH 9:6-7

Jennifer and Manish are still dealing with the fallout from choosing which two households to bubble with over the festive season (an exercise as doable as fitting a PlayStation 5 into a stocking without ripping it). Meanwhile, Donna is tearing her hair out over the future of the café she opened three years ago. To keep propping it up with her own cash, or hang up her apron and call it a day? Then there’s Bob, tearing up over Zoom as he shares with his homegroup how he’s not been able to see his granddaughter for nine whole months.

They long for the ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’, about whom Isaiah spoke. They need this Prince of Peace not just in the big, in the abstract, in the generic, but in the small, in the concrete, in the particular.

As Isaiah looked back in time, he saw the promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7, that a great king from David’s line would rule on his throne for ever. Isaiah then looked forward, with hope, to a time when the dream would become reality, when ‘justice and righteousness’ would be the default setting for all living under the reign of this ruler, this Messiah.

At this time of year, we remember this Messiah has indeed come. We marvel at and sing about the vastness of who he is and all that he has accomplished for us and our world. We thank him that he sweated the big stuff.

But we remember too that the weighty title he bears, and the peace he brings, is not just some grand victory ‘out there’. It’s peace brought about by Jesus, who became a small baby in a small family in a small home in a small town in a small nation on the fringe of a huge empire. It’s peace brought about by Jesus, who taught from a real fishing boat, healed real eyes and limbs, shared real bread and fish. It’s peace brought about by Jesus, who sat with particular people, in particular places, in particular situations.

For our Prince of Peace does not struggle to make time for our small in the midst of his big. Our great king delights to work out his big peace in and through our small. So, this Christmas, in your small family gatherings, in your real worries, on your particular frontline, may you know his great peace.

Joe Warton
Church Team: Research and Development, LICC


Christmas Illuminations: Waiting in Hope (3/4)