This greeting is heard throughout the holidays. And during the second week of Advent, we focus on peace. But what is this the peace we are wanting, hoping for? Is it simply this absence of conflict and the presence of tranquility that we are longing for? That wars would cease and charity would increase?
I think the peace we are promised in Scripture runs much deeper. It is not simply an absence of conflict. Nor is it just serenity or tranquility. The "shalom" peace that is spoken of in the Bible connotes wholeness, completeness. It means the absence of worry and anxiety. The presence of rest and trust. Before Jesus died, he said this to his disciples:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2000 years ago, Jesus promised his followers peace. But he also promised that he would not give it like the world gives things -- this would not be a gift given for a temporary time, and then taken back. Nor would it be a gift that would run out. For the peace Christ was leaving us was himself.
6 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. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
Christ himself is our peace. Through Him we will always have access to the Father, and we can always have peace. We can rest, because of Christ coming into our broken world, dying for us, and forever making peace between God and man. My prayer for you is that, this Christmas, you would let this peace of Christ rule in your hearts.