THIS SERIES: DREAMING OF A PERFECT CHRISTMAS?
The coming of Emmanuel is God’s answer. With Jesus’ birth the Prince of Peace came into our world; and according to Isaiah, the alternative government & peace brought by this ruler would continue to increase forever [Isaiah 9:6]!
This theme was taken up by Zechariah on the dedication of his son, John; the Coming One would not only give light to those experiencing darkness, but would also guide people into the way of peace [Luke 1:79].
And of course ‘peace on earth’, was part of the announcement given by the angels to the shepherds.
This heavenly peace has largely been reduced to a sentimental ‘feel-good’ atmosphere surrounding our festivities. However, peace is a hugely powerful concept in Scripture; the Old Testament term for it is the wonderfully rich word, ‘shalom’, which includes the following in its meaning:
- physical safety & soundness in body
- welfare, health & prosperity
- peace, quiet, tranquility & contentment
- peace & friendship with God, in covenant relationship
- peace between humans
- peace from war
- peace as adjective
This is what the new born King would bring with him – this peace packs a punch.
But Jesus came & we still don’t see much evidence of this Kingdom peace around us – two thousand years on, the world is still a mess…….
I would suggest that we see Kingdom peace advance, one person, one household, one community at a time. Jesus made it clear that the Great Plan was to partner with people of faith to bring about transformation to the world. The fact is, we haven’t done a great job up to now; however, the Lord hasn’t changed – there isn’t a plan B!
The first mention of a word in Scripture is usually seen as significant. The first time ‘shalom’ is used in the Old Testament it is in the context of covenant commitment to Abraham, when the Lord promised, ‘You shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age’ [Gen 15:15 NKJV].
Abraham is the picture of the blessed life, (God even spelt it out, ‘I will bless you & you will be a blessing‘, Genesis 12:2); all the blessing of shalom became his; and he did indeed die in peace. One of the reasons Jesus came was so that belonging to Him, we too could inherit this promise of peace – in all its fullness [Galatians 3:29].
The New Testament word for peace is eirene & has a similar breadth of meaning. The first time it is used is in Matthew 10:13, ‘If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.’
Not only do we have an amazing covenant promise of peace for ourselves, but it is ours to give away, to release in the lives of others.
The Prince of Peace has come; by His suffering on the cross, He purchased shalom for us [Isaiah 53:5]. This Christmas, let’s stir up our faith to receive what Jesus paid such a price to give us, and then let’s release it on our households and neighbourhoods. We can be the means by which Kingdom Peace invades our world.
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