If you were to draw a picture of peace, what would it look like? Years ago a group of artists was given just that task, to capture the image of peace. There were many pictures of beautiful sunrises over beaches or mountains, and other pictures of pristine meadows full of wildflowers and peacefully grazing sheep. One artist depicted two enemy soldiers embracing each other at the end of war. Other artists drew children of different nationalities holding hands across the earth under a shimmering rainbow.
One picture stood in stark contrast to all the rest. It was a rocky ocean cliff drenched in torrents of rain that were falling from an angry sky filled with lightning.. The ocean was churning and foaming. Huge waves crashed against the cliff, but tucked away in a cleft of the rugged rocks was a small white dove, her head tucked beneath her wing, resting peacefully. She had found a place of repose and tranquility in the midst of the storm.
Today with all the economic uncertainty, repetitive natural disasters, and civil unrest in one nation after another, life can feel like that stormy ocean picture. Everywhere we look there is instability, trouble, and we are battered by circumstances beyond our control. It is overwhelming, and it would be so wonderful to find a place of peace and safety like that little dove.
While that picture is very effective at capturing a mood of serenity, it doesn’t begin to adequately depict the face of peace. Peace is more than tranquility in the midst of troubling circumstances. Peace is much more than the absence of conflict, and it is infinitely greater than personal security.
Two thousand years ago, an angelic host appeared to a group of shepherds one night and proclaimed “Peace on earth. Goodwill to all people!” If they weren’t referring to personal serenity, peace of mind, or the end of war and conflict, just what were the angels announcing with the word “peace?”
The peace the angels heralded to the shepherds is explained in Ephesians 2: 12–14. “Remember, that at that time you were separated from Christ, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and being in the world without God. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were formerly far-off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He, Himself is our peace…”
The peace the Angels were singing about was the good news that God has come to earth to repair the breach in our relationship with Him. In this act of reconciliation, Father God not only invites us back into His family, He fully intends to restore us back to the original position of dominion and authority that was conferred upon us in our creation.
The word for peace in Hebrew is shalom, and it has a rich, extensive meaning. In its essence, shalom is a state of wholeness in every aspect of your life: harmony in your relationships, total health in your body, abundant supply in your finances and joy in your emotional well-being. So you see God was announcing far more than just peace of mind. He was inviting us into a quality-of-life that we have never known before, a life so abundant that we will spend the rest of eternity discovering it.
The face of peace is Jesus Christ. As we gaze upon Him, we see God’s incredible love for us in His gift of peace to us. As you celebrate Christmas, may you come to experience more fully that peace the angels announced so long ago.
Come observe Christmas with us this Sunday. We will have only one service at 11:00 AM. Our topic is “The Prince of Peace,” which completes our current series, “A Prophetic Christmas.”