Helping & Loving Others

Peace on Earth: What It’s Really Going to Take

Doug Bender

November 30, 2023 | 2 minute read

Pageant contestants wish for it, politicians promise it and the angels at Jesus’ birth sang about it, but what does “peace on earth” really mean and what can you do about it? 

The Real Meaning of the Season

The Christmas season comes packed with many fun and, also, solemn traditions. From parties and gifts to church plays and midnight vigils, this special holiday has much to offer. But no matter how many layers you stack on top of this tradition-rich season, Christmas is still essentially a birthday celebration for Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. 

On the first Christmas, the day on which Jesus was born in a manger, angels came to a group of shepherds to announce his birth. They sang:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men.”

Many great things would follow this momentous day. But the greatest gift mankind is still waiting to receive is peace on earth. Every season we sing songs and say prayers in hopes that God will finally come through on this promise. If Jesus could later look down on his executioners and pray for their forgiveness, one day we hope humans could also lay down their weapons, set aside their hatreds and, finally, embrace peace. This is the ultimate meaning and hope of Christmas. But it’s one thing to know what God has promised and another to understand how he intends to carry out that promise. 

The Part We Play in Bringing Peace

Have you ever read through the stories of Jesus in the Bible and wondered, “Why does Jesus bother with having disciples?” They are full of doubt and hesitation. They struggle to understand the point of Jesus’ coming and his teachings. And when he was falsely arrested, they nearly all abandoned, denied or betrayed him.

But Jesus persisted in mentoring this band of misfit disciples into the important leaders they later became. His patient work with them demonstrates exactly why “peace on earth” may be so long in coming: God insists on working through his people. He has given us this world and he is letting us run it. He is not going to do all of the work of bringing peace to earth, himself. As slow and imperfect as Jesus’ followers continue to be, you and I are still the ones he is determined to use to carry out his plans. 

The Hard Work of Peace

So far the task of peace has taken over two thousand years to complete. There is not much any one of us can do towards this goal, but collectively we truly can turn our world upside down. Just imagine if every person who claimed the name of Jesus decided to love their neighbor, pray for their enemy and wish good on those who harmed them. You may not think much about gossiping, cutting off someone on the road or holding on to your own private grievances. But if the world is to have peace, it will begin with people like you choosing to live a different kind of life. When we act on our anger, selfishness and prejudice, we are working against Jesus’ ultimate goal of bringing peace on earth. 

Peace is difficult and dangerous work. People may take advantage of you when you decide to forgive rather than get even. Some will mock you for being weak when you choose to de-escalate rather than win the argument. Many will wonder why you insist on restoration when vengeance seems so right. This type of work got Jesus killed and it may not always go well for you, either. But if all of us commit to this work, the world will not be able to stop it. In the end, nothing will conquer love and peace will reign forever.

So let’s not just sing about peace or wish for the world to be a better place. Let’s each commit to choose peace in our own lives, in the relationships that surround us and in the communities we live and interact with. 

For more on this topic, order your own copy of  “I Choose Peace,” an I Am Second book by Doug Bender. Discover the stories of how God brought peace to the lives of his people and their communities.


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Doug Bender

Doug Bender

Doug Bender is an I Am Second writer and small groups coach. He developed many of the small group tools found at and has coached churches, organizations, and individuals to use I Am Second groups to share the message of Jesus with their friends and family. He also works with I Am Second's parent organization, e3 Partners, as a church planter and pastor in countries such as Ethiopia, Colombia, and the US. Doug and his wife, Catherine, have four children: Bethany, Samuel, Isabella, and Jesse.

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