Prince of Peace Primer

by Jennifer S. Bryson

As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we rejoice in proclaiming the Prince of Peace. Yet at times the centrality of peace as a theme at Christmas can feel distant from the world we live in. From armed conflict to family strife to internal turmoil, no matter how much we may love peace it can feel like just a far off ideal. In a recent sermon about the Prince of Peace, Pastor Steve Grusendorf of Princeton Alliance Church in New Jersey provides a very helpful introduction to how Jesus bridges this gap.

Pastor Grusendorf explains how we can cross the bridge Jesus offers us by allowing him fully into our lives and moving, step by step, toward embracing the peace which the Prince of Peace is so eager for us to experience and share. His sermon focuses on Isaiah 9 and Ephesians 2.

In particular, emphasizes Pastor Grusendorf, in order to move beyond seeing peace as "a cute slogan for Christmas cards," we need to understand that, "Shalom," the Hebrew word for peace, "is an important word in the Old Testament...Really Shalom represents relationships as they were always intended to be - relationships unadulterated, pure, and in the right form."

"Peace," he explains, "doesn't have to be relegated to Christmas cards. Jesus is the Prince of Peace because He desires to help us restore relationships through forgiveness so that we can experience Shalom." And not just that. But as Pastor Grusendorf emphasizes, "The Prince's peace is always meant to be shared."

A video of the sermon is available at this link.


Jennifer S. Bryson, Ph.D., is Director of the Islam and Civil Society Project at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ and she serves on the Board of Directors of Peace Catalyst International.