Peace. The idea of it seems so easy. In a broad sense, we think of “peace” as stress-free, non-contentious, living. Peace and quiet. The kind of peace that comes from everyone just leaving you alone. If only it lasted. We chase it only to find that it is as elusive as a wild goose, and we frustrate each other when the terms of the ceasefire are not upheld. Thankfully, this is not the “peace” I read about in Micah. “And this One shall be peace”. In the Hebrew, shalom refers to the presence of all good things. Health, favor, blessings, and “right relationships” with others are all included. With this in mind, I re-read the Micah passage, and the description of Jesus becomes clear. “And this One shall be peace”. This coming baby Jesus is the presence of all good things. This Jesus is God’s making “right” our relationships with Him. It is this Jesus who, even still today, actively engages a broken world and brings about redemption and reconciliation. Pure peace, as is Christ, throws off pride and seeks the well-being of the world around us. Peace is not to be maintained. Peace is to be made. No wonder this same Jesus refers to peacemakers being called the “sons”, the very character, of God. He is the embodiment of made peace. If we want peace, true peace, we must start with making it in the world around us. With those who look, act, and think differently than you, make peace. With family, friends, and enemies who betray your trust, make peace. With brothers and sisters in Christ who attempt to “out-church” you, make peace. In the book of John, Jesus can be found comforting his disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. Though wars continue to rage, and people continue to shout each other down in the streets, in Christ, we have the assurance and comfort of a continuously redeeming relationship with God. “And this One shall be peace”. As we recognize the coming Jesus as peace, may the world recognize us likewise.
LET US PRAY
Father God, help us to emulate your Son by being peace in our world. Allow us more opportunities to bring redemption and reconciliation to those around us. This, I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Timothy C. Guthrie II is the husband to Hannah, and works at Carson-Newman University as a Senior Admissions Counselor. During this season of Advent, I am most looking forward to continuing traditions, both, with my wife and our church.