The Advent season is a time of anticipation, waiting, and preparation. During the month of December, Time With God will break from its regular format to explore selected passages and characters connected with the coming of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us.
For all who have experienced real snow days, you’ll understand this: There’s a magical sense of waking up and, before ever climbing out of bed, knowing that it snowed overnight. The blanketed ground and trees create a muting of sound that’s unmistakable. Everything is still and immensely quiet. All is at peace.
- What scenarios come to mind when you consider the word, “peace”? Does the mention of Christmas mean “peace” to you?
READ THE WORD: ISAIAH 9:2-7 (ESV)
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
and the staff for his shoulder,
the rod of his oppressor,
you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
New Testament Fulfillment:
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
RESPOND TO GOD
With a never-ending stream of media and social commentary, it can be difficult to avoid being caught up
in all the tensions of local and global unrest. Even on this Christmas Day, personal unrest often takes the form of feeling anxious and frazzled over gatherings and meals and gift-giving and time with family.
We individualistic Americans tend to read passages about peace and think only of our own internal peace. Failing to read these passages in full context of the culture to which they originally spoke, we miss a profound message. The Hebrew word for “peace” is “shalom,” and its message stretches much further than our own sense of rest and contentment. It is that, but more fully, it is a word of restoration. Shalom means a return to wholeness.
What, then, is the expansive message when the Prince of Peace said, “…my peace I give you”? Because Jesus came to us, God in flesh, we can have internal, personal peace through him. This is no small thing. But more importantly and profoundly, we are fully restored from the results of a nature of sin and made to be at peace with our Creator God, so that we may live in undeterred relationship with him for the rest of eternity!
- Celebrate the fullness of God’s gift of Jesus.
- Worship the Creator God who not only offers peace in the darkest of life’s circumstances, but who also promises a complete restoration, wholeness to all that is broken, for all of eternity.
May you rest in the shalom of Jesus this Christmas day!