Advent Blog Series: PEACE
As one way to prepare our hearts for the Christmas season, we are introducing a blog series to examine the four primary virtues of Advent - Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Published on the first four Fridays in December, this fourth and final installment examines Peace and is written by Josh Stewart.
The Peace Called SHALOM
I’m just going to keep it real with you: I LOVE CHRISTMAS! I have a “Buddy the Elf” level obsession with this season. I am enamored with the lights and decorations. I love picking out Christmas trees. I love getting gifts (I wear a size 12 shoe, just in case you were wondering). I love the same four songs that get repeated on the radio over and over and over and over and… okay, you get it. The Christmas Season is annually portrayed as this blissful time of year where everything is right with world. All of our problems simply are put on hold while we enjoy a peaceful season of gift giving and gift receiving, right?
We know the truth. Even during the holiday season, brokenness abounds. Loneliness, depression, economic hardships, war, and racial division taunt the very hope of peace the Christmas narrative is supposed to offer. In reality, what we have is a world full of lost people, hungry and desperate for a fulfilling peace. This time of year is my favorite because it brings us back to the ultimate promise of peace: A peace that transcends our earthly imagination and a peace that will last forever!
When the Lord looked upon His creation in Genesis 1:31, we see this idea of what real Peace looks like. This concept can be understood as Shalom which means a whole, complete, fully functioning connection between the Creator and the created. When God looked at what he made and said “It is good,” we see His intention for how the world was supposed to be. Fast forward to Genesis 3, and you see that we humans had already messed things up.
When Adam and Eve sinned against God, it placed mankind in a place of hostility between God and us. Sin separated us from the peace of God, and as a result we have tried (and miserably failed) to govern ourselves. We have become dependent upon manufactured elements to free us: governments, education systems, money, etc. We believe things like “maybe, if we can just elect the right person. All I need to do is earn that degree. If I can just make more money.” As humans, we have long hoped that these institutions would satisfy us, but it seems that every time we turn on the news, these elements are filled with more and more corruption. It’s so interesting that 2,000 years ago, the world had the same problems. The Roman Government was making its way through the known world, oppressing people with heavy tax burdens along the way. Many people felt neglected, powerless, and defeated. There was a serious need for Peace.
But God, in His mercy and love for mankind sent us Jesus Christ the Restorer, the Liberator, The King. The only one who could bring us back to Shalom. His coming meant that finally we could be reconciled back to God. The coming of Jesus meant that the outcomes of sin’s curse (death, guilt, malice, greed, and prejudice) had to take a backseat to a new ruler and the government would be upon His shoulders. Isaiah 9:6 tells us, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on this shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jesus will rule and reign forever, and if you surrender your life to him, and abide by the principles of His Kingdom, you too can experience Shalom. The Father loves you and wants you to be restored back to him. The only way we can experience true peace is by being reconciled back to Yahweh. He wants you! Draw near to Him. Worship His Son!