The Nativity of the Lord

For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace[1]. Prince of Peace. We speak a lot about peace at Christmastime. We sing about a child sleeping in heavenly peace. We wish each other Christmas Peace[2].

How can we understand the peace that Jesus brings?

We use the phrase “Jesus came to forgive sins” too loosely. We use the phrase, “He is the Prince of Peace” too vaguely. It all seems sweet, even happy. Jesus’ life should not be trivialized in this manner. Jesus came as one of us to lead us towards a completely different world view. He points us towards a mind set of self giving, sacrificial love. He calls us to embrace the spiritual as a greater reality than the material. He calls us away from the chaos of sin to the peace of the Kingdom of God.

When I sin, when you sin, I, we, are in chaos. Oh sure, I can pretend that nothing is wrong. I can pretend that I am only doing what everyone else is doing. I can even blame the Church for putting me on a guilt trip. And, yes, I can find psychologists and counselors who are willing to tell me that there is nothing wrong with my choices as long as I am happy with them.

We have all heard it said that the devil works hard to bring us down. Actually, I don’t like this saying because it is a convenient way for any of us to deny our responsibility for the chaos of our lives. No, it is not that “devil that makes us do it.” We don’t need his help. We don’t even have to work hard to destroy our lives. We are capable of doing this all too easily.

But no matter how much confusion we may be in, it does not matter to God. God brings us back to Himself. And He does it quickly. He raises us from sin instantaneously. Do you know why? Because God wins. He always wins. At least, He always wins as long as we let Him win.

So the man who has destroyed his family turns back to God and becomes a new person, one who is loving and giving. By the end of his life his children and perhaps, even his former wife, recognize that his goodness has overcome the pain he inflicted. They remember their father and her former husband for the good man he had become and the way he brought God’s love to them. He dies in peace. God wins. He always wins. At least, as long as we let him win.

For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. Prince of Peace. What is the peace that Jesus brings? The peace that Jesus brings is the freedom from chaos in our own lives.

If we can have the courage to embrace the life he proclaimed with his life, a life where the spiritual is primary, a life where the greater value is in what is given, a life of charity, the unselfish concern for the welfare of others, then we can enjoy the Peace the Lord came to bring every moment of our lives. God does not want any of us suffering even if we are suffering the results of our own actions. He wants to comfort us. He wants us to be at peace.

He saves us from the chaos we have afflicted upon ourselves. His name is Jesus. That is the name the angel told Joseph to give Him because He will save His people from their sins. He saves us from ourselves. He is the Prince of Peace. May you and your families live in the Peace of Christ ■

[1] Is 9:5.
[2] 24th December, 2008
Wed 24th, Midnight Mass. Readings: Isaiah 9:1-7. Today is born our Saviour, Christ the Lord—Ps 95(96):1-3, 11-13. Titus 2:11-14. Luke 2:1-14.
Ilustration: The Nativity Story is a movie about the lives of St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary as they start their journey together to bring the Messiah into the world. Starring Keisha Castle-Hughes as Mary and directed by Catherine Hardwicke. The oficial web site is:

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris