Advent Series Day 10: a wonderful gift

What is on your mind right now? Right at this moment? I would guess that most of us are stressed in one way or another. We may be thinking about a to-do list that seems insurmountable. We may be thinking about upcoming visits with irritating relatives. We may be thinking about the troubled economy and wondering if we will have enough to pay our bills. We may be thinking about the turbulent world and wondering if humankind will ever stop fighting with each other.

 Don’t we all long for something, or someone, that will make things different?

Isaiah says that someone is the Messiah.

 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

The child he talked about in Isaiah 7:14 will not be an ordinary child. He will be a Son, given to us. He will be exceptionally wise. He will be God, our Strong Champion. He will be eternal. And He will be a Bringer of Shalom.

Shalom, the Hebrew word for peace, has a great depth of meaning. In English, we often think of peace as simply the lack of turmoil. But Shalom is more. Shalom is completeness, soundness, and contentment. Shalom is the world the way it is supposed to be.

Shalom. Peace. Oh, how wonderful that would be. And oh, how possible it is.

Jesus the Prince of Peace has come.

From a global perspective, this prophecy will not be fulfilled until Jesus comes again. Can you imagine what it will be like when there is no more war? No more oppression? No more corrupt governments? Those will be gone when the Prince of Peace is on the throne.

Though that day is still in the future, peace is still available now. I do not believe this prophecy is speaking only of global peace. Shalom means so much more than that.

 The Prince of Peace brings shalom to our relationship with God.

… since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. – Romans 5:1

Sin destroyed our connection with God. The contrast of His holiness and our brokenness made it impossible for us to have the relationship with Him that we were designed to have. Jesus came to bring restoration through faith.

 The Prince of Peace also brings shalom to our hearts.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

Our restored relationship with God brings with it a wonderful gift: prayer. Through prayer, we have the opportunity to place worries, thanks, and requests in God’s hands. In turn, He, through Christ, places peace in our hearts.

Finally, the Prince of Peace brings shalom to relationships.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

Letting Christ’s peace rule our hearts is not only about our own contentment, it is also about the way we treat others. Our debt has been paid by Christ. When we recognize that gift, we are freed from having to live as if others owe us something.

Jesus said,

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you… - John 14:27

The peace Jesus brings is a gift. But like any gift, we have to choose to receive it. We choose whether we want Him to restore our relationship with God. We choose whether we want to pray. We choose whether we want to trust Him with the wounds that can come with relationships. It is not easy. We fail often.

But it the gift of peace is worth trying to open.