Peace is conflict. War is the absence of conflict.
War protects through elimination. It values right over relationship. It stands against rather than with. It is what happens when conflict breaks down.
Peace is what happens when those who disagree choose to remain in relationship. In fact, peace risks conflict in order to stay in relationship. Peace reminds us that we appear strange to those who call us strangers. It seeks to understand as well as be understood. Peace is the presence of conflict.
Peace without conflict is artificial harmony. It shoves the relational breakdown underground where war is fought though espionage and surrogates. Married couples who never argue probably never talk.
So… Jesus is the prince of (peace) conflict?
Yes! Jesus’ birth was the greatest example, in a long list of examples, of God’s willingness to engage in our conflict so that relationship would not be broken. Jesus was embedded into a war zone but brought peace instead. He suffered instead of protected. He related rather than demanded his rights. He stood with us rather than against us.
As we celebrate Jesus’ birth, let’s remember that one of the highest values of the Kingdom of God is peace.