"For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named ... Prince of Peace. His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore." – Isaiah 9:6-7
I grew up hearing Jesus referred to as the Prince of Peace every Christmas season. It always conjured images of Mary and Joseph, quietly adoring their newborn under a star. I still like that image, but I think Isaiah was talking about something more when he used that epithet.
Another way of phrasing that title would be the “Sovereign of Shalom.” Shalom is the Hebrew word used here, and it’s often translated as peace, but that definition is incomplete. Shalom means wholeness, a state where nothing is broken and everyone’s needs and relationships are fulfilled.
The phrase “no justice no peace” is often used in protest, but it’s actually a profound statement of the conditions necessary for shalom. Isaiah says that Jesus will establish His kingdom on justice and righteousness – on the basis of right relationship with God and neighbor. Wholeness, shalom, is only possible when we are in right relationship – when justice is established.
As we celebrate that the Sovereign of Shalom came to be with us, let’s also strive toward the wholeness of the world, which He came to establish, and in which we have a part to play.