Peace. What does that word mean for you?

The first thing that springs to mind for me is “peace and quiet”, but that might be because I have a nearly one year old who has recently taken to shrieking and squealing (mostly with delight!) throughout the day. I’d love a peaceful weekend away from the busyness and noisiness of everyday life, particularly in the lead up to Christmas.

Guatemala girl praying

I realise that the word peace has a much more serious meaning for lots of people around the world. Peace from war and persecution is something many will be wishing for this Christmas. In countries where WorldShare’s ministry partners are based, war and persecution are very real and affect millions of people day to day. Even in the past couple of months, we have heard of widespread gang violence in DR Congo and Haiti, where ministry partners HEAL Africa and PiFò Haiti work. We have been praying for safety and, of course, peace.

When we hear about people living in places where peace seems impossible, we can be left feeling disheartened.

Yet we have hope!

Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been digging into the riches of Isaiah 9:6, unpacking the different sides of Jesus' wonderful character:

For unto us a child is born
For to us a son is given
and the government will be upon his shoulders
and he will be called

Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

I have been so encouraged to read Alan’s blog on “Wonderful Counsellor” and Jenny’s on “Mighty God, Everlasting Father”. For this final instalment, I have the task of reflecting on what it means for Jesus to be our “Prince of Peace”. I would love to highlight two implications of Jesus being our Prince of Peace that can bring us joy this Christmas.

1. Eternal peace - with God

As Christians, during Advent, we anticipate the birth of Christ – we look back at the nativity story with excitement and joy. Our Prince of Peace was born to a world in darkness. Born to bring us to eternal peace – the kind of peace no earthly prince or ruler would ever be able to bring us. Peace with God.

The baby born in the stable that starry night grew up to be the man who died on a cross to save us from our sins – to reconcile us to our Father.

As Romans 3:23 reminds us, we have all fallen short of the glory of God. And yet God sent his only son, the Prince of Peace, to raise us up to glory. How amazing!

So when our own lives feel far from peaceful, we can look to Jesus, knowing we have all we need in him. And we can praise God that all of WorldShare’s ministry partners are working to share the peace that we find in Jesus with those they meet.

But that’s not everything…

2. Eternal peace - without suffering

FG21 14

In parts of the world, people risk the destruction of property, job loss, physical abuse and even death by choosing to follow Christ. Our ministry partner, Africa Inland Church, works on the ground in South Sudan to support people who are victimised because of their religion. In our 2021 Freedom Gifts catalogue, we have a gift called ‘Emergency Relief for Persecuted Christians’. The funds raised go to help Africa Inland Church care for these Christians and their families - those who long for an end to suffering, those who long for peace. Perhaps you would consider purchasing a gift this Christmas?

For the persecuted Christian in South Sudan and for the troubled Christian in the UK, both of whom know eternal peace with God but long for peace from suffering, what hope can they have?

As Christians, during Advent, we can anticipate the second coming of Christ – we can look forward with excitement and joy to when Jesus will return. He will come to bring us to eternal peace. Revelation 21:4 tells us:

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We can know that, thanks to our Prince of Peace, there will be a day when there is no more suffering! There will be eternal peace.

I pray that you and your family know the peace of God, brought through Jesus, this Christmas and into the new year.

By Emily Hobbs, WorldShare’s Marketing Communications Assistant