It’s the second Sunday of Advent so that means we are talking about peace.
I don’t think there is a more misused word in the English language. “Love” gets tossed around pretty irreverently too, but I think “peace” is misused more often and in a greater variety of ways than any word I can think of.
But peace is an essential word. It speaks an essential truth. Perhaps that is why I find its abuse so disturbing. We need to keep the word “peace” to describe things that truly are peaceful. Otherwise, the word becomes useless.
So what then is peace? One of the best definitions comes not from a dictionary but from Scripture Itself. In Isaiah 9:6-7 we read of the prophet’s inspired perception of the Christ:
For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
It’s important to notice that this isn’t a “laundry list” of the Messiah’s titles or a description of His “skill set.” Rather it is a description of His person, each phrase or term describing one aspect of Who He Is, and the fact that Prince of Peace comes last is significant. It isn’t simply the last thing the prophet has to say about the Messiah, rather it is the summation of His character. It consists of all of the preceding ideas. Each of these ideas tells us something about Who Jesus is, and taken all together they show us that He is the “Prince of Peace.”
The word Shalom occurs more than 230 times in the Old Testament and is most often
translated as “peace.” But sometimes it is translated as “well.” In other places, the word
expresses safety, prosperity, or general welfare. It refers to the whole of one’s being, and the wellness of one in its entirety.
Jesus is intimately aware of and concerned about our “wellness.” His sacrificial death
purchased wellness for our whole being. Our eternal wellness is His greatest desire for us. It is the reason the Son of God took on the flesh of frail humanity.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly. John 10:10
This is the peace that Christmas brings.
I encourage you to listen to this song as you meditate on this peace.