Prince of Peace

The Bible uses many of names to describe the Lord, but my personal favorite is “Prince of Peace.” We don’t tend to make Christmas lists as adults like we did when we were children, but if we did, peace would be a common theme.

One of the many traditions in my house at Christmas is decorating the tree. Whenever I visit another home during Advent I examine the ornaments on their Christmas tree. Some families have a perfect balance of color and size that seem taken from the set of a Hallmark movie, but that has never been my goal. For me, Christmas is about memories.

Each year the Christmas ornaments seem to procreate in the off-season and the box of items that are left off the tree increases. Each object placed on a branch reminds me of the past and so over-decorating the tree is a good thing. One day, my three sons will receive some of the decorations to put on their own tree, so for now I will enjoy the cluttered branches.

I remember the year I made reindeer antlers from the shape of my eldest son’s infant hands and how I would place my youngest son’s hands in mine as we painted ornaments together. From the bottom boughs to the homemade star that is hung every year by my middle son who made it–memories flood my holiday.

Decades ago, a college friend made a kneeling shepherd from clay that is always placed in a prominent location to remind me of the correct posture for anyone that approaches the manger. With so many things that seem to divide people these days, I think taking the time to remember is the first step toward peace.

I’d like to invite you to take time out from your schedule today and gaze upon whatever decorations you might have on display in your home. Some memories might be nostalgic while others may invoke a twinge of pain. That happens for me, too. But then I walk over to the nativity set and remind myself that even though I didn’t make a Christmas list this year, the Lord still knew what I needed. The Prince of Peace is still in the manger.