December 17, 2017
Shalom – The Gift of Peace
What does “peace” mean to you? For some, it is the absence of conflict. For others it is the absence of noise or responsibility. Our definition of peace is most probably dependent on what we feel we need, but is it possible that our notion of peace is far too limited? Maybe we are missing the beauty and power that it can offer.
This week’s lighting of the advent candle reminds us of the central role that peace plays in the Christmas story, but the story of Peace begins long before that first Christmas day.
Peace, or Shalom, carries with it a rich body of meaning that extends far beyond the absence of conflict or noise. It infers completeness, wholeness, and a restoration to life as God intends it. Peace isn’t just the absence of war/dissatisfaction. The Peace of Christ is a fullness of heart, a constant companion that whispers to our hearts, in spite of current circumstances, that it’s going to be ok.
God is deeply invested in our “shalom.” It’s why he sent Jesus, the very root of our celebration, so that we can experience God’s shalom through him. It is also the culmination of a plan, which He has been trying to share since the fall of Adam and Eve. As we count down the days until Christmas, maybe we should slow down long enough to allow God to share that “shalom” with us.
Questions for discussion:
· What do you think was the main point of Matt’s message?
· How would you define peace? Is your definition contingent on your circumstances?
· In what ways do you think Jesus represents the “shalom” of God?
· What are some ways you might practice this “shalom” in your life?
Do something about it:
Ask God to show you what “shalom” means. Take some time, this week, to practice this “shalom” with your friends, your family and each person God brings into your life. Use this as an opportunity to introduce your family to “the peace that surpasses understanding.”
Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 52:7; Ezekiel 37:26; Luke 1:79; Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:15; John 14:26,27; 1 Peter 5:7; Romans 15:13