Today we celebrate the coming of the Christ-Child, the One foretold by prophets, anticipated by the faithful, and now given by God. He is given as descendant of David, as the Messiah King who sits upon the throne of David, his ancestor and forebear, whose government will have no end.
The one who is KING is called the Prince of Peace. His kingdom will establish peace that will be lasting. But that is not to say that this KING does no battle, no indeed. Yet when this King wages war it is at the same time the waging of peace. His Majesty deals a devastating and desolating attack and the outcome of this attack is peace.
The Psalmist celebrates the desolations of the King’s attack.
… see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
“He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. (Psa 46:8b-11 NRS)
Think of it, our Messiah’s reign of peace follows a campaign of devastation on the war-making capacities of the nations, the adversarial stratagems and tactics operative among the bitterly estranged fall into disuse, and the lethal disposition to neutralize those at odds with us is itself neutralized. Consequently, the implements and weaponry of war become obsolete, the used and blood soaked uniforms of former combatants are discarded, and the trophies of such victories are valued only as sad reminders of the winning that is really just an ironic form of loosing.
As one century has closed with the distinction of being the bloodiest in modern history and a new century has begun with signs of even greater blood-letting ahead, one of the best prayers we might offer is for our Messiah to lead us in a holy war against warring itself, for the destruction of the weapons of destruction themselves—whether mass or minimal destruction, and for the cleansing of our souls from the impulses of anger, fear, envy, bitterness and pride that drive us to hurt and harm.
O Immanuel, still our hearts to know you are God.
Exalt your holy Self at all times and in all places.
For the sake of the world you have so deeply loved, for the sake of all in the grip of war-mongering madness and war-engendered dementia, and for the sake of the crushed and broken, destroy in us and about us and amongst us and between us everything that would hurt or harm.
You have shown us a better way and, at the greatest of cost, you have provided the possibility that we might take that way. Now devastate us with lethal love against all that opposes that way—your way—of PEACE.