“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33, NIV
While many of us are celebrating and looking forward to being with our families there are many that this season does not bring joy. Perhaps they will be alone this season for the first time, they have lost a loved one during this season, or a number of other reasons. Whatever the reason they would prefer that Christmas would speed on by. In some way we each know their pain. From the first Christmas without a beloved grandparent to another loved one. When you are anticipating them walking in the door and greeting you or sitting in their spot at the Christmas dinner table. The pain sometimes is bearable but at times it can paralyze you.
Dealing with loss and pain during advent does overwhelm all of our senses. There is no joy, peace, love, and hope that is proclaimed through advent. How can Christ bring peace when we are in such pain and inner turmoil. The Scripture this today encourages us. Peace does not come from us, the next drink, our work, or anything that we can find to fix the problem, it comes from Christ. It is Christ alone that brings peace to us. The verse describes that we will all have pain or struggles but it is through Christ that we can have true peace. Not a fluffy kind of peace but a peace that is backed up with God overcoming the world.
What does peace mean to you when this season is not so joyful and happy?
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.– Matthew 5:9
The news this morning was a story of a arguement that started on the SEPTA train in Philadelphia after a sporting event. As the arguement began to escalate into a fight a man stepped in to calm everything down. As the train pulled into the next station one of the groups left. While they were leaving they turned and pulled a guy and shot into the train hitting both the other aggressors and the peacemaker.
Being the peacemaker is not a safe place to be sometimes. Peacemaking does not happen in calm serene places but too often in places of conflict. Thos places of conflict are sometimes not where we expect them to be. It could very well be around the dinner table, within church walls, or in our relationships. As I look to what we are called to be… peacemakers. Far too often we want to be peacemakers of the “safe thing”. The issues that will not take us too far out of our comfort zone. Instead of standing up for the rights of others we simply choose to mediate the fight between Girl Scout Cookies of Somoas or Thin Mints. We are unwilling to stand up (sometimes to our own families) for what we believe is right and God honoring. Look within your relationship and life.
Through the week of peace we have begun to realize the peace that we are to have with God but also the peace that we are to be a part of in the world. Where does God call you to be a peacemaker?
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace(shalom). – Numbers 6:24-26
Being a native Californian the word of choice and still is revolved around the word “dude”. It can be a verb, adjective, noun, question, exclamation, and basically anything you want it to be. Simply by changing how you pronounce it. By simply using the word with a variying style of emphesis I probably could have had a complete conversation with some of my friends.
Each region of the world has their own slang. In Biblical times the word “shalom” was one of those words. It meant hello, goodbye, peace, and a myriad of other functions. There was more to this word than simple greetings but their was a deep feeling, intent, and emotion behind it. There was a sense of complete peace that wrapped up ones harmony, sense of secuity, relationships, health, wealth, sucess, and a complete wholeness behind it.
No matter how hard the Isrealite tried. This complete peace could not be created by them. I am sure that more than one of them tried. Much like you and I have. Probably without much sucess. Sure some of us have had some sucess in the stock market, have a nice family, or live a healthy life but a complete peace is far from our grasp.
The complete peace or shalom that the Israelites write about comes does not magically appear. Rather it comes about as a result of a restored righteousness with God. A restored relationship with the One that actually bring about a wholistic peace. It was this shalom that the Israelities were calling for in Isaiah when they looked ahead to the coming “Prince of Peace” who will restore their relationship with God.
This advent do you have Shalom?
An interesting video that made e contiplate that to make peace in the world I have to have peace myself.