“Peace to you” is easy to say but how is it to be lived? “Peace” has been defined as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility,” at least per Webster’s dictionary. I think of the advertising for noise-cancelling headphones that sell the idea of being oblivious to the world around you, undisturbed and tranquil. Is that peace?
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 along the lines of peace. There may be a misunderstanding between the peace we seek 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 grant 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.” We are not to be oblivious to goings on. There are battles we are to be in the midst of. 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. This is wholeness and well-being under the One True God. “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. And when Jesus Himself says He “did not come to bring peace, but a sword,” the sword is the word of God that can cut through the devil’s schemes – the noise and division he stirs up. Jesus is the word become flesh (Jn.1:14). Thus, the reality is that conflict exists around Jesus in this world and it may not fit our understanding of peace. Yet, it is in relationship with Jesus the Christ and grounding under the word of God, that dads have the opportunity to instill a positive state of rightness and well-being in children. In fact, it is a responsibility for dads to walk in and reflect a peace in the home at CHRISTmas and always.
Tips to reflect peace to all:
- Lead a family discussion around the biblical perspectives on peace;
- Read Matthew 10:34 and discuss what healthy conflict must be grounded in;
- Discuss conflict that exists 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 issues.
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 ends in frustration and division. Forgive me. Help me extend grace, unconditional love for those I interact with at various gatherings. Equip me to love individuals while not compromising on issues. Keep me grounded in Your word and focused on reflecting Your peace to all this CHRISTmas. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father reflects peace to all at CHRISTmas and always.