The second week of Advent calls our attention to Peace. I have long felt that Peace must be one of the most complex concepts in our Christian heritage. There is all the breadth of meaning in the Hebrew word “shalom”, which is translated as peace in English – not only absence of conflict but also completeness, wholeness, restored relationship, good health physically, good health mentally. Presumably, Jesus was thinking of all those meanings, or else we don’t know which he meant when he talked of peace.
We call Jesus the Prince of Peace. Yet what do we make of the range of things we’re told he said about it? “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). “Whatever house you enter, first say ‘Peace be to this house.’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him but if not it shall return to you.” (Luke 10: 5-6). “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace but now they are hidden from your eyes.” (Luke 19:41). “Peace I leave you; my peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give you.” (John 14: 27). Jesus came to the world as a baby, a peaceful coming, except perhaps for the mother giving birth. But the same scriptures tell us to expect war and destruction and calamity to proceed his return.
Yet, carrying the peace given by Jesus, the apostles willingly braved tremendous hardship, hostility, and violent death. So many others adopted their faith and held it despite knowing their fate. It is a thing to be desired, a thing to seek. However you seek it, through studying the scriptures, meditating, praying, acting to spread it in all its meanings, may you make your peace with Peace. May you be given the gift of it, and may you be blessed by it.