Peace is a simple yet powerful word. It is found more than a hundred times in the Bible. It is also a word we use to describe Jesus; we call him Prince of Peace. Every time we hear the “Hallelujah Chorus” we remember these glorious words from Isaiah 9:6:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
It is no wonder that one of the candles we light during Advent is called the candle of peace. It is one of our Lord’s greatest gifts.
As Jesus faced the end of his earthly life, he was determined to assure his disciples that in spite of the cross he was about to face, he was leaving them an incredible gift.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled; neither let them be afraid. John 14:27
Despite the hardships they would face, they would always have this gift—the gift of peace.
Over the years, people have come to think of peace as “the absence of conflict or war,” but there is much more to this biblical teaching. Looking closely at the biblical word “shalom” reveals that the peace our Lord offers us is actually the gift of spiritual well-being and the assurance of our Lord’s presence in our lives.
During Advent and Christmas, we are reminded of words spoken by angels one night to shepherds in the Judean hills. They were the first to hear the good news that “a Savior who is Christ” had been born in Bethlehem. They were specifically told that they could find him in a manger. Then they heard the chorus of angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to all people.” (Luke 2:14). Once again, we see that wonderful word, peace.
Advent this year finds us in need of peace. Of course, it is something we always need, but these days our nation and world really need the gift of shalom. There are divisions that are obvious, and many people who are troubled and dissatisfied.
During this season, let us commit ourselves to have an attitude that is like the Lord we profess to believe and serve. Remember his simple yet powerful words, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” This is not a denial of the reality that conflict is a part of life; it is the gift of being able, with our Lord’s help, to face whatever challenge that comes our way and to do those things that make for peace.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the possibility of shalom and the opportunity to experience peace beyond our understanding. Thank you for sending Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Amen