Jesus' birth was announced in the stillness of that first Christmas, with a host of angels announcing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14). Isaiah's prophecy of this event proclaimed that the Christ child was to be "The Prince of Peace" (9:6).
The world has great need of this Christly peace right now. It's different from the kind of peace that might be worked out through long negotiations – although the peace of Christ is often silently present during those efforts. This peace rests on the conviction that God is the only power and that all good is possible under His care.
To reach this peace, we walk the path of unconditional divine Love, expressed and practiced – a path on which greed, envy, hatred, and prejudice have no place to fester or grow.
The values Jesus taught his disciples and practiced himself have their roots in universal Love. This Love breaks through all barriers to lift consciousness to know one infinite God, the omnipresence and omniaction of all good. The peace Jesus preached and practiced, that results from this divine Love, is described in Philippians this way: "the peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (4:7, New International Version). It's a peace that transcends all denominations, cultures, race, or beliefs. It unites all of us in one God – "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).
As we walk divine Love's path, we become peacemakers ourselves. Love gives us strength and stillness in periods of hardship, grief, and pain. It alleviates hurtful experiences. It lifts us beyond darkness to the light. It gives glory right back to the God of all peace, who gave us the gift of the Prince of Peace – the promise of "Emmanuel" – or God with us (see Matt. 1:23). It lifts us beyond human woes and frailty to the infinite capacities of God, who is true and good, ever present here and now for all of us. And the love we show enables us to help others find peace.
Jesus taught that we should love God first, but also that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. So forgiveness plays an important role in peacemaking, because it's a facet of loving our neighbors. In the Lord's Prayer he taught his disciples to pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." In the textbook of Christian Science, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mary Baker Eddy included a spiritual interpretation of the Lord's Prayer. This verse is interpreted, "And Love is reflected in love."
Jesus never stopped practicing such unconditional love. Even on the cross, he was able to pray, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). Jesus expected his followers to practice forgiveness, forgiving those who have done us wrong or who owe us debts.
Where forgiveness is lacking, we're not able to witness the fullness of Love flowing everywhere, because our own sense of love is constricted. To forgive is to recognize the uninterrupted presence of Love and to realize that we could never be deprived of it for even one second. Forgetting and releasing the wrong done us enables us to receive the blessing.
The Christmas message of peace is an opportunity to open our hearts and thoughts to the message of Christ and to let Christ live in our thoughts and actions. The Christ is here to guide all of us to a better understanding of divine Love and to express it more freely to all. This divine influence is ever present in our consciousness now. When we open our hearts, we'll feel this presence with us, and we'll be able to truly bring peace to ourselves and others.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:
not as the world giveth, give I unto you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
neither let it be afraid. John 14:27