He knew that true peace would come, not when violence ended, but when people started looking after one another. It is a positive thing, the presence of something good, not just the absence of something bad.
The Hebrew word shalom, translated peace in our Bibles, actually means wholeness, the complete flourishing of a person’s life. Shalom is used in the Bible to mean a person’s life being whole with God. Adam and Eve’s life with God in the garden was peaceful. There was nothing bad there, no shadow between them and God.
And God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. (Gen.1:31)
At the Welsh National Eisteddfod, an annual festival of music, art and literature, there is a ceremony where the Arch Druid begins to draw a sword from its scabbard and asks, “A oes heddwch?” (“Is there peace?”) The people reply, “Heddwch” (“Peace”) and the sword is sheathed again.
Is your life like that? Do have wholeness in God? Is there peace? The wonderful news is that there can be.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
The prophet Isaiah saw the coming of Jesus and said his name would be, Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6). When Jesus came he said, I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. (John 16:33)
When you submit to Jesus as your Saviour, you come into the kingdom of God. Part of your progress as a disciple is to cultivate the ways of the kingdom in your life. Others will notice and yearn for the peace they can see in you, and God is glorified.
Jesus went to dinner at a Pharisee’s house, and a ‘woman of the city’ sneaked in. Her life had no peace. She knew, deep inside, that she could find peace only from Jesus. She knelt behind his couch and washed his feet with her tears of sorrow for her way of life and dried them with her hair. She kissed his feet and broke an expensive jar of perfume and put it on his feet.
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48)
We are all longing for peace, and we will never find it in this world. Only in Jesus is the true peace, that is not the absence of trouble, but a positive, active wholeness with God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil.4:7)
When you are filled with that peace, you can take it to others. By your life as well as your words, you can bring others to know that shalom relationship with God. Paul said that now we have been reconciled with God, he has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor.5:17-21).
[Adapted from Advent 121 devotional on YouVersion Bible app]