As we said before, when Jesus came, in His prayers He addressed God in the intimate way as Father or abba. And when the disciples at one point asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He told them to begin like this: “Our Father which art in heaven…” (Matt. 6:9). Isn’t that wonderful?
But how is this possible? How can we address God in the same intimate way that Jesus did? Because in Christ we are brought into that great family, and we have all of the privileges of that sonship. One of our hymns says,
Fatherlike, He tends and spares us;
Well our feeble frame He knows.
And indeed He does, He knows our feeble frame, and He tends for us and cares for us. That is a great gift, indeed.
Well, we have looked at three of the four gifts that Christ gives: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father, We come now to the fourth gift, which is Jesus’ name of Prince of Peace. I suppose of all the things that men and women lack today, peace is the most striking. We live in a very restless age. And if you would ask people what it is they most want, although they may express it in different ways, perhaps what most men and women want more than anything else is to be at peace.
But we’re not at peace. We are not at peace with other people, and we are not at peace with God, which is the basic problem. Saint Augustine understood it well when he said, “Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Only peace with God through Christ can quiet and settle our restless hearts.
Actually, apart from the work of Christ and faith in Him, we are at war with God. We are fighting God with all our strength, all our mind, all our will, because basically what we want to be is God of our own lives. We want to rule our own destinies; we do not want the Word of God to prevail for us. What Jesus Christ did by His death is to make peace between us and God. We are the ones who have caused the division because of our sin, making us God’s enemies; but Christ bridged the gap for us. And now having obtained peace with God, there is that other great blessing: the peace of God, which God imparts to all who come in Christ and who will ask him for it. Paul writes about it in Philippians, as he is writing about prayer and says that we are to let our requests be made known to God. Then he explains how God will grant us peace.
I don’t know if at Christmastime you feel a lack of peace. But certainly we have much in our lives that makes us restless. Isn’t it wonderful to have peace in Jesus Christ as God’s great gift? I’m impressed as I think of these things at how well they correspond to the great needs of the human heart.
If we were to do an analysis of men and women and ask, “What are great needs you feel?” what would they tell us? Well, we have the need to know and to understand things. We have our wills and the sense of our own identity, and the consequent desire to achieve something and for our lives to make a difference.
We are individuals, but we sense that we are not meant to be alone; and so we want to belong somewhere. That’s why we seek relationships. And even when we are disappointed in one relationship we seek another relationship because we don’t want to be isolated. We are also conscious of wrong doing. We need to be forgiven, and want someone to help us overcome our sense of guilt. Isn’t that right if you analyze human experiences? There is this whole list of needs that people have.
These four gifts from Isaiah 9:6 speak to each one of those needs! To know the truth, Jesus Christ is for us a Wonderful Counselor. To achieve something worthwhile, He is the Mighty God who enables us to achieve meaningful things through His power. For our need to belong to someone, He is our Everlasting Father, for we are brought into His family. And in our need to be forgiven and be at peace, Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace, having made peace by His death.
These four gifts at Christmas are the greatest gifts that anybody can ever have. They are all in Jesus and they are for us if we will have them.