Prince of Peace

It was her first pregnancy, but heaven knows it wouldn’t be her last. And this babe she was carrying was called the Son of the Most High. His birth had been prophesied many years earlier, but no one knew the timeline. He wasn’t expected at this particular moment in history. And Mary definitely wasn’t expecting to be expecting the Savior of the world. Ever. She just wasn’t. And neither was her future husband, Joseph. Sure. They were planning to marry and have a family, but family before marriage just wasn’t acceptable. It was unthinkable with serious consequences.

Even the mystery surrounding the conception brought division between Mary and Joseph. She knew she was a virgin. But, in the moment, she couldn’t just prove it to Joseph. And he had every right to suspect her of being unfaithful. It was a quandary of even the most modern of times. Pregnancies didn’t just happen without consummation. But this is exactly what happened. And it was difficult to explain. And even more difficult to prove.

Joseph could have had Mary put to death for this act of adultery. It took a miracle of trust and faith for Joseph to move ahead in the relationship. But he stepped forward to claim her as his wife, even when he could have stepped out of the picture. Although this child conceived supernaturally would not have his DNA, the child would be counted in the family line of David. It may not make sense to those of us on earth. But to an all-knowing, all-seeing, always present God, it doesn’t have to make sense to us in order for it to be right and true and good. God had spoken.

If Mary and Joseph knew the prophecies about Jesus, they would have known that he was to be the Prince of Peace. But in those moments of confusion and chaos, perhaps peace wasn’t their first thought. Mary. Confused about being pregnant while an unmarried virgin stood to lose her life. Joseph. His thoughts went to divorce because his betrothed was pregnant with a child not his. But as they each privately stepped back and listened to the words of the angel, the plan made perfect sense. Oh. In future days, confusion and chaos would return as their news spread to an unsuspecting world. But in their private moments, they each came to the acceptance and understanding of something far greater than themselves. Confusion and chaos could wait for another day. Today. In this quiet moment. Peace reigned in their hearts. They were at rest with God’s plan to allow them to parent this God child. They would move forward with God leading the way. There was no turning back.

You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:31-33


For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6


Also. If Mary and Joseph knew the prophecies surrounding the promised Messiah, they would know that the government would rest on his shoulders. What does that even mean? Having something resting on your shoulders seems to be a very heavy burden to bear. An unbearable yoke. Yet it would be on him. How does a Prince of Peace carry a heavy burden and proclaim peace? Jesus would lay down his will and accept the authority to rule on earth as it is in heaven. He would have full responsibility of bearing the sins of all the world. He would suffer and die for the sins of all mankind. That is a heavy burden to bear for a mere mortal. But he was God Incarnate.

He would be called Wonderful Counselor. And who isn’t looking for a wonderful counselor these days? Certainly those in Bethlehem were. And yet. They didn’t know that the new baby born in an unnamed stable was their Wonderful Counselor. Little did they know that he would rule the world. The name of Mighty God points straight to God himself. Jesus would do things only God could do. And as Everlasting Father, he pointed to eternity. His wouldn’t be an earthly reign. His would be eternal.

Jesus is the originator of peace. But in a world full of chaos and confusion, peace seems to elude us. And the reason peace eludes us is because we’re not looking to the originator of peace. We’ve trying to find peace and fulfillment in things of this world. Not eternal things. And so we’re constantly on the hunt for peace. It always seems to be around the corner. But the plan for eternal peace begins with Jesus Christ. His heavy burden of dying on the old rugged cross for our sins brings the peace to each of us as we bow and repent of our sins. The peace that knows no ending does not have to be elusive. It can be eternal. If only we turn over the chaos and confusion and control of our lives to him. The peace will reign in our hearts. And we can truly call him our own personal Prince of Peace.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

Mary’s Birth Story

She was very surprised to learn she was having a baby. This pregnancy was unplanned. To say the least. She was engaged to be married. She was a virgin. So, technically, there was no way she could become pregnant. Except for one thing. An angel of God visited her. He said she would have a child. This child would be the Son of God. She was to carry and birth the Savior of the world.

Then during the final days of Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph left town. They traveled to Bethlehem to be counted in the census. It was roughly a seventy mile trip. Mary on the donkey. Joseph on foot. The terrain was hilly and uneven. It was rough country. The trip either went straight through Samaritan country, or down an out of the way path around the city to reach Bethlehem. The first option was dangerous and uncertain. The second route added more time to an already long trip.

On top of the uncertainties of the trip, Mary was heavily pregnant. Her time was coming due. Oh. She had no birth plan, as is the norm these days. She had never given birth. Perhaps she had been involved in midwifery for other women. Yet she was young. Perhaps she had witnessed her mother birthing younger siblings. Had her mother instructed her on what to expect in birthing a baby? Was she prepared to be completely alone with her husband who was not the father of her child? Did Joseph know what to expect when his wife was expecting?

When the couple arrived in Bethlehem, there were crowds of people. Hotel rooms were full. No vacancy anywhere. They found space in a stable where they spent time awaiting the impending birth. And her time came as they were in the distant city. She was not surrounded by women who knew her. She was not in the company of friends. She was alone with the man who was her husband but not the father of her child. She had yet to know this man intimately, yet he was to help her birth the baby.

Was it an awkward experience for both of them? Joseph was not experienced at delivering babies. Oh. He worked with his hands, but as a carpenter. His hands were rough and strong. But perhaps he was gentle as he soothed her sweaty brow. Was she in labor for hours? Was it an easy birth? Or, was this the perfect labor and delivery, because the Deliverer was being delivered? There were no robes of royalty for this newborn. Mary wrapped this infant King in strips of cloth.

Oh. There was no birthing room. No blood tests. No IV. No heartbeat monitors. No epidural. No apgar test. There were no newborn photos to share with the family. There were no footprints inked on a birth certificate. No steak dinners to celebrate the happy occasion. They were in a stable where animals were kept. Nothing was sterile about the place, yet this perfect child came to save an unsterile world.


The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel. Matthew 1:23


But the birth announcement was out of this world. Literally. As shepherds were in the fields that night, an angel burst onto the scene. He announced the birth of this baby. And then a choir of angels appeared and sang to the shepherds. They sang of his birth. Glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth. Goodwill to all men. The shepherds immediately left the fields and found the stable in Bethlehem. There they worshipped the infant King of kings and Lord of lords.

On the eighth day after his birth, Mary and Joseph took the baby to the temple where he was circumcised. He was given the name Jesus. An offering of two doves was presented that day. It was a typical day in the life of a couple christening their child.

But there were those in the temple. Two who had been waiting for this moment. They had been waiting for years. Their hearts had been stirred as he was brought in for this ceremony. They knew what only his parents knew. They confirmed that he was the Son of God. The Incarnate God in flesh. And only eight days old.

I’m sure Mary pondered this unusual announcement in her heart. She and Joseph had not shared the details of this immaculate conception with strangers. There was no need. Yet here they came. An elderly man named Simon and an elderly widowed woman named Anna. They each shared the prophecies of the birth of this One born in the royal line of David.

Everything we need to know about Mary’s birth story has been written. The information is shared throughout the Bible. The more personal and private details have been left out. Because they aren’t the focus of the story. The baby’s weight is inconsequential. The hours of labor aren’t counted. It doesn’t matter when her water broke. Or when she was fully dilated. The birth of this baby was ordained by God the Father. His birth was part of a beautiful, sacrificial plan for mankind’s salvation. No other birth story compares. The breath of eternal life is given to everyone who calls on the name of Jesus.

Faithful Father

Imagine being Joseph.  His fiancee runs off to visit her cousin.  She’s gone for three months.  And when she returns, she breaks his heart.  Oh.  She isn’t dumping him.  She tells him she’s pregnant.  Makes a man wonder what his girl has been doing for those three months she was visiting her so-called cousin.  He knows without a doubt that the baby isn’t his.  Because they haven’t.

She says the baby’s father is God.  How is a man supposed to believe that?  Can he trust her?  After all, they’re engaged.  Not married.  Should he just break up with her and move on?   Even though they aren’t married, breaking up would still signal a divorce.  Because he knew.  He knew if he agreed to marry her, the people of their village would spread the rumors.  Oh.  That couple.  They didn’t wait until they married.   But they can’t prove they were waiting.  Because now there is a baby on the way.

What if God asked the impossible of you?  Would you be willing?  If God asks you to move out of your comfort zone, would you?  How far out of your comfort zone are you willing to go, even if it is God who’s doing the asking?

The baby wasn’t his.  He knew it.  She knew it.  Did everyone else know it? He wanted to divorce her.  Quietly.  Not make more of a public spectacle of her than she already was.  He could.  You know. 

But the dream was so real.  The angel was right there.  Marry her.  He said.  She speaks the truth.  She has been faithful.  This child is God’s.  Name him Jesus.  Joseph actually heard from God in a dream.  So he did it.  He married her.  Knowing what everyone would say.  


What is impossible with man is possible with God.  Luke 18:27


This man.  Joseph.  His betrothed was carrying the Son of God.  How was he to be a father to God?  He wasn’t qualified.  He was just a carpenter.  How could he do this?  Would this child want to become a carpenter?  If he and Mary were fortunate enough to have their own sons, how would they compare?  Would others be able to tell the difference between God’s son and Joseph’s sons?

How is one to be faithful when the world says to run the other way?

Joseph didn’t know God’s plan.  Joseph didn’t know that God’s Son was to be born in the lineage of King David.  Joseph was in that lineage.  God’s plan worked out perfectly.  No.   Joseph wasn’t the biological father, but he fulfilled the plan God had laid out for him.

Oh.  It wasn’t Joseph’s place to be in the spotlight.  He didn’t have the leading role.  But support roles provide stability and depth for the leading role.  It wasn’t his birth that was announced to the shepherds.  It wasn’t his death on the cross.  His role may seem small, but really.  His role was father.  Role model.  Family leader.  Bread winner.  Not much is written about him, but words aren’t enough.  He did everything by being faithful to God’s plan.  What seemed impossible for him was made possible through God’s purpose and leading.  

Sure.  Joseph doubted at first.  He even considered saying no.  But when that angel appeared in the dream, he realized this was God at work.  God was fulfilling the promise and prophesies that had been passed down for so long.  And Joseph was part of the plan.  God was using Joseph to raise this God child.  

Oh.  My role may not be as leader.  I may be the supporting role in a much bigger plan.   There are times I don’t feel worthy of the role I’m playing in God’s plan.  There are times I would choose to step aside.  But God who calls is also faithful.  If he calls, he equips.  And in that equipping and following the plan, I find that God is so much more than a word so often used in vain by many.  God makes the impossible possible.  All I must do is believe and trust.  And obey.