Christmas: 7 Days of Peace

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Peace in Troubled Times 


By Karen Geyer


And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”—Colossians 3:15


I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; for I have overcome the world.”—John 16:33 


Just imagine, you’re sitting on the balcony as the sun is rising over the beach. The birds are singing softly; you’re alone; it’s a lovely, quiet, and peaceful start to the morning.  Until . . . until your little brother and sister get into a wrestling match and your mom is calling you to break it up. That peace is gone in an instant and you would do anything to get it back, even if for just a minute.  


How many times have you closed the door to your room in order to be alone, to get some peace and quiet? How many times throughout history have we seen nations working hard to make peace treaties with each other, only to break that peace a short time later? We even have this prestigious annual award called the Nobel Peace Prize that’s given to someone for their contributions to peace in our world. So, my question is . . . Why is it that we crave peace so much, yet can never hold onto it? Why is it that this thing we fight for and work so hard for always ends up being so brittle, fleeting, and temporary? Well, the problem is that we often search for worldly peace in a world that is full of turmoil and trouble.


What our hearts are looking for is "a complete, permanent, and everlasting peace." What we crave is shalom.  In case you didn’t know, shalom is the Hebrew word for peace. A term used to this day, shalom describes “a state of harmony and restoration.” One Bible scholar called it, "The tranquil state of a soul assured . . . fearing nothing from God, and contented with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”


In the Old Testament, one of the names used to describe our God is Jehovah-Shalom, which basically translates to “the God of peace,” or “God, our peace.” So naturally, the fickle peace this world offers is never enough, because what we crave is a peace that can only be found in the presence of the One who is peace . . . in the presence of Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus tells us in John 16:33 that the world is full of trouble, and that as His followers, we are guaranteed a world of trouble, but He also tells us to "cheer up” (take heart) because He has overcome the world for us.  Jesus has declared victory! Jesus is already victorious; He has won our freedom and has given us this peace of God, and because of that, we can be confident that in Jesus we have the complete peace we so desperately desire. That is what the Christmas season is all about! That’s why the angels in the sky who appeared to the shepherds to declare His birth sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14).


In Colossians 3:15, Paul writes that the peace in Christ is what should rule our hearts.  In order to rule our hearts, we need to walk in God’s will for our lives. We can’t disobey, refuse, or leave God’s will for our lives and expect to have the shalom our hearts crave.  When we do that, we are torn, conflicted, and troubled. We’re called to peace in Christ alone, and as such, we’re called to God’s will for ourselves and for the Church (the body).  If each person is living according to God’s will, we will be at peace with each other in the Church.  This peace (or lack of) in Christ will either cause us to come together in unity or to be divided by discord as the Church.  


The Bible tells us that we should live in peace with each other, but each one of us must do our part. Each of us should know God’s will; through prayer, meditation, surrendering our desires, and seeking Him in His word (the Bible). We can do that by intentionally setting aside time each day to pray, worship, and read our Bibles (I set an alarm as a reminder because I’m human and get distracted). We need to do that daily so that our peace remains constant, firmly rooted in Christ alone.  


And finally, Paul tells us to be thankful.  If you have true peace in Christ, you have so much to be thankful for each day.  


Question for Reflection:



  • What are the things you’re thankful for today?