Peace? Are you kidding me? With Covid spikes, threats of more lockdowns, liberties being compromised and election results in America being questioned, peace is not the first word that comes to mind. Per Webster’s dictionary, ‘peace’ is defined as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.” I think of the kid walking through the crowd with his noise-cancelling headphones, oblivious to the world. He is undisturbed and tranquil.
In this final week of Advent, the candle lit reflects the PEACE our Savior and Lord came into this world to establish. The heavenly host praised God in the presence of the shepherds and said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). I wonder if He is pleased with the progress we have made toward peace. There may be a misunderstanding between the peace we perceive and the peace the Lord calls us to.
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. – Numbers 6:24-26. The priestly blessing over the Israelites recorded in Numbers references ‘peace’ as a translation of ‘shalom’. In its most expressive sense, shalom here means, “the positive state of rightness and well-being in the midst of battle.” For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6. When Isaiah says the child will be called ‘Prince of Peace’, the reference is to a ruler who will bring “wholeness and well-being to individuals and to society.” Then, Jesus Himself says, “Do not assume that I came to bring peace on the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34. The sword is the word of God and Jesus is the word become flesh (Jn.1:14). Thus, the reality is that battles are inevitable around Jesus in this world and they may not fit our understanding of ‘peace’. Yet, it is in relationship with Jesus the Christ and grounding in the word of God that instills that positive state of rightness and well-being in the midst of battles we face.
Tips to reflect the peace the Lord calls us to:
Lead a family discussion around the biblical perspectives on peace;
Read Matthew 10:34 and discuss what healthy conflict must be grounded in;
Discuss inevitable battles around Jesus the Christ in this world, when absolute truth tries to navigate through a world that favors relative truth;
During family gatherings, extend grace to individuals but stand firm on Truth.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your Son, the word become flesh. You know I like a good argument. The trouble is that most times I am driven by opinions I have formed based on my background. The result is loud conversation that immediately jumps to extremes and ends in frustration and division. Forgive me. Help me extend grace, unconditional love for those I interact with that hold differing views. Equip me to love individuals while not compromising on truth. Keep me grounded in Your word and focused on leading the way to CHRISTmas with a peace that reflects a positive state of rightness and well-being in the midst of battles. Amen.
A faithful father leads the way to CHRISTmas in the peace the Lord calls him to.