This is probably one of the most recognizable verses in the scriptures; thanks to George Frederic Handel it is sung the world round during the Christmas season. While the words come from scriptures, the music itself is surely inspired from on high. In fact Handel himself tell us where the music came from. Just after he finished writing the Hallelujah Chorus his servant swung open the door, “The startled composer, tears streaming down his face, turns to his servant and cries out, "I did think I did see all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself.”" (Quote taken from Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers.)
Chapter 9 of Isaiah yielded a very powerful experience for me and so ranks as one of my favorites. It’s also a perfect one to contemplate as we head into the season where our thoughts and activities are centered on the birth of our Savior.
After reading the above verse I looked up in the dictionary (Webster 1828) all the words associated with the names of our Savior. Here’s what I came up with:
Wonderful: adapted to excite wonder or admiration; exciting surprise; strange; astonishing.
Counsellor: Any person who gives advice; but properly one who is authorized by natural relationship, or by birth, office or profession, to advise another in regard to his future conduct and measures.
The Mighty God:
Mighty: very strong, valiant, bold, very powerful; having great command. Very great; vast. Very forcible; efficacious (productive of effects; having power adequate to the purpose intended; powerful). Very great or eminent in intellect or acquirements. Great; wonderful; performed with great power. Important; momentous.
The Everlasting Father:
Everlasting: eternity; eternal duration; lasting or enduring forever; existing or continuing without end; perpetual.
Father: He who begets a child. The appellation of an old man, and a term of respect. One who feeds and supports, or exercises paternal care over another. God is called the father of the fatherless. He who creates, invents, makes or composes anything; the author, former or contriver; a founder, director or instructor.
The Prince of Peace:
Prince: a sovereign; the chief and independent ruler of a nation or state; the son of a king or emperor, or the issue of a royal family; the chief of any body of men.
Peace: a state of quiet or tranquility;
- Freedom from war
- Freedom from internal commotion or civil war.
- Freedom from private quarrels, suits or disturbances.
- Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions (fear, terror, anger, anxiety); quietness of mind; tranquility; calmness; quiet of conscience.
- Heavenly rest; the happiness of heaven.
- Harmony; concord; a state of reconciliation between parties at variance.
- Public tranquility; that quiet order and security which is guaranteed by the laws.
- Used in commanding silence or quiet.
What’s in a name, truly? Do not these definitions open your mind as to the personality, character and eminence of our Savior? Each definition is worthy of more contemplation, but that would make for a really long post, so I will focus on the last name, The Prince of Peace.
When I first read the definition for “peace”, just the act of writing down the words brought a sense of peace to my heart. This last year having been a turbulent one for me, I had often prayed for peace, but after reading these definitions, I realized that I need to be more specific in my prayers as to what kind of peace my heart needed. A couple of days after having done this chapter I had the opportunity of application to my life. I had been feeling very frustrated at my husband for something and also, my husband, my son and I had been at variance with one another. After a round of words I found myself in my closet in tears. As I knelt there asking for peace I reflected on the definitions I had learned and I contemplated what kind of peace I was seeking. I prayed for freedom from the internal commotion I felt because of the discord with my husband; I wanted it taken from my heart. I prayed for freedom from the private quarrel and disturbance that was between the three of us. I asked for harmony and a state of reconciliation so that we would not be at variance with each other and that tranquility would be restored to our home. Just the act of praying in such a specific way brought about a sense of peace, and then as I went about my day I began to see the Lord answering my prayer. At one time I spoke to my son with sharpness and as I did so a thought popped into my mind, “Is this how to establish peace?” It made me stop quickly and change my tone of voice and my attitude toward him and the situation. Later that evening my husband asked my son to go see a movie with him, thus helping to restore goodwill between the two of them. As for the internal commotion I felt toward my husband, I decided to try a different approach to this frustrating situation, one that I was not particularly comfortable with but one that I knew would make him happier. As the day progressed I noticed the internal commotion in my heart becoming less and less and by the end of the day I didn’t feel it at all.
“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)
The Lord’s gospel is the “gospel of peace” which the Lord sent by angels to the world. (D&C 27:16) His gospel has everything required to bring about peace in this world, peace that begins within each one of us as we truly seek it. He is the Prince of Peace, and we can find that peace as we look to the “author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrew 12:2).