If ever our nations need peace, it’s now. Amid racial tensions, terrorist groups multiplying, Middle Eastern unrest, and economical downturns—not to mention the daily grind of sufferings. Am I touching a nerve? Against that backdrop, a pertinent line from ‘O Holy Night’ comes to mind. In the words of John Dwight, written in 1847, describes our current status, “long lay the world in sin and error pining.” Yet, he added life-saving hope…til He appeared.” Resplendent words—He appeared. Tweet that! Absolutely, and right on time, giving Himself to redeem what decayed in Eden. Life beats death. Always.
For me, I love the significance of Biblical names. Notice how Isaiah rolls out the titles of Christ, as if he got raptured to glory and mere words weren’t enough “For unto us a Child is born…a Son is given…Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV). A mouthful that, among other things, proclaimed the Prince of Peace is coming. Get ready sons and daughters of Israel. Approximately 700 years later it came true and an angel (Gabriel) announced “Of this peaceful Kingdom of God, there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33). Long-awaited news had arrived. Better still, if we believe upon Jesus and accept Him into our lives, His peace abides and sustains us right now. This very moment, no matter what condition the world finds itself in.
Traditionally, the Jewish greeting for peace is ‘shalom’ and the description is much richer than English language permits. Thus, a ‘shalom salutation’ meant more than ‘may peace be with you’. For example, if you greet someone saying, ‘shalom, my friend,’ you’re declaring: “I wish for you completeness, wholeness, and well-being in your total person. I pray God grant you perfect, concentrated prosperity in your entire being; spirit, soul and body.” In addition, shalom conveys good health, mental alertness, freedom from flaws, and possessing pure soundness or wellness. All that to say this. Jesus Himself is our peace (Ephesians 2:14), and we have (shalom) consummation through Him. No lack there.
That first Christmas, God gave Jesus and what better gift? On the long haul, He’s like a warm blanket, keeping the world’s degradation from destroying our souls. Before returning to His Father, Jesus encouraged the disciples…”My peace I give to you; not as the world gives…let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). So, be not afraid child of God, He’s got the whole world in His hands. Let there be peace from our past and hope for the future this Holy season.
Shalom Darlene! I love this article. I never realized that “Shalom” was such a deep and meaningful greeting. Thanks so much for sharing. God bless.