Today is the Advent Sunday of Peace. I often wish we had a word like Shalom in the English language. Shalom means peace, but it also means wholeness, completeness, prosperity, restoration, wellfare. It means peace, but it also means “how things are meant to be.”
Zechariah said this about his son John:
And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.
Luke 1:76-79 NLT
Zechariah is describing the role his son John will play – telling the world about Jesus and preparing the way for the ministry of Jesus.
But he is also describing God’s plan for Shalom. Through Jesus, Shalom was to enter the world. The light would shine on those sitting in the shadow of death, the light would guide them to the pathway of peace – of shalom.
Jesus is meant to guide us to the way things are meant to be. To the restoration of what it means for each of us to be human. The restoration of our relationships with each other and the restoration of our relationship with God.
I think this is a very rich definition of peace…one that reaches far beyond the idea of peace as simply the “absence of conflict.” I pray Shalom for each of you as you read this blog, and as you go about your daily lives.
There is a way to Shalom, and that way’s name is Jesus.