A “credible” threat shut down the Los Angeles school district this week. Just over a week ago, an office Christmas party in San Bernardino ended with 14 dead and 22 injured in what was identified as a terrorist attack. Just over a month ago an evening in Paris turned into a nightmare at a soccer match, a concert and a popular restaurant ending with 130 dead, all killed by seven terrorists. Just over a year ago in Sinjar, Iraq, tens of thousands Yazidi men, women and children fled to Mount Sinjar to escape ISIS. Hundreds were massacred by ISIS and dozens more died of starvation and dehydration. A U.N. report noted gross human rights abuses, forced conversions and the abduction of women and girls. Got peace?
Just over 2000 years ago, Roman soldiers under orders from King Herod descended upon the small town of Bethlehem and massacred every baby boy less than two years of age. About 33 years later, the Roman soldiers crucified the Prince of Peace on a tree.
Got Peace: “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.’” – Luke 2:13-14. “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” – Matthew 10:34. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27. “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.” – Colossians 1:19-20. Peace on earth is sung of by the heavenly host to the shepherds. Jesus speaks not of peace but of division with a sword - the word of God. Jesus also talks of His peace with the disciples, a peace that may not be discerned from their worldly perspective. Finally, Paul writes that reconciliation with God rests in making peace through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross. Peace is tied to the reconciliation in relationship with the Father through the Son. Got Peace?
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. In its most expressive fullness, shalom is – not the absence of war, but a positive state of rightness and well-being. Such peace comes only from the Lord (Numbers 6:24-26, NIV Study Bible).
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the peace offered through Your birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, the Holy Spirit and the promise of Your return. In this world it all gets pretty confusing. It is probably not all that different than when You walked this earth except we now hear about it courtesy of the 24/7 news cycle. Help me tune out the noise of this world and tune in to You to a new level of relationship as I celebrate Your birth with family and friends. May Your Light blast through the darkness at work in the world and grant all a glimpse of Your peace this Christmas. Amen.
A faithful father embraces peace through a personal relationship with Jesus the Christ.