Peace on earth.
We talk about it.
We sing about it.
We long for it.
Many of us may think that peace is simply the absence of war or conflict. For others, it could mean making it through the holidays without butting heads with siblings, in-laws, or Toronto Maple Leaf fans.
Regardless of our backgrounds or social situations, we all have this desire for a peace that goes beyond moments of seclusion and into daily reality.
When we talk about peace from a biblical perspective, we uncover a much fuller and richer concept. The Old Testament word for peace is Shalom. Shalom is also the way to say hello and goodbye in Israel. Shalom is understood as completeness or wholeness; in addition to harmony and tranquility and is used 237 times in the Old Testament.
We see shalom used as a blessing, a way of making wrong things right, and as descriptions for building projects brought to perfect completion. “When rival kingdoms make shalom in the Bible, it doesn’t just mean they stop fighting; it also means they start working together for each other’s benefit.”
As amazing as this idea of shalom is, the people of God never truly experienced the shalom that they were created to enjoy. In the book of Isaiah, “we are promised a future king, a prince of shalom. And his reign would bring shalom with no end–a time when God would make a covenant of shalom with his people and make right all wrongs and heal all that’s been broken.” When you take something that is broken and fix it, you are bringing Shalom.
The bible teaches that Jesus is the Prince of Peace (shalom). He is the one who redeems and restores the fractured relationship between God and all of humanity by what he accomplished on the cross.
As we wait for the promise of unending shalom in the second Advent (second coming of Christ), we are called to be people of peace. We will be blessed by bringing Shalom into our relationships.
So, what does this all mean for us?
Peace takes work. Patience is required, and we are to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
God is always moving. He is passionately pursuing us with His love and kindness. We are welcomed to cooperate with the Prince of Peace to bring healing and wholeness to the world. We are to be active participants in God’s plan for peace.
Maybe you need to work a little harder this time of year to bring Shalom into your work and family gatherings. Perhaps there’s a broken relationship that requires forgiveness, humility, or patience. The good news is that we don’t have do this with our own strength. Jesus promises to give this peace to us: