by Anne Lang Bundy
Some of the [Christmas] words have been worn out. Can you put “glory,” “joy,” “Messiah / Christ,” etc. in today’s vernacular?
~ Don Kimrey
A wonderful Q&A theme for the Advent season is to revisit biblical definitions of these words. We'll insert the quintessential Christmas word “peace” for "etc.," and spread the answer out over four posts:
December 3: Glory
December 10: Joy / Rejoice
December 17: Peace
December 24: Messiah / Christ
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Here is one Hebrew word easily translated: shâlôm.
This Hebrew masculine noun is rooted in a verb that means to be safe and well; to make complete or to be completed.
True peace is holistic; that is, it takes in the whole person. Anyone who otherwise lives in health and ease, yet experiences gnawing hunger pangs in body, mind, heart, or soul, is not at peace.
If we look to the Bible for how to find peace, we discover that not only does peace affect the whole person, it is obtained in a Person:
You will keep in perfect peace,
The one fixed upon You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in YHWH forever,
For YAH—YHWH—is the Rock of Ages [everlasting strength].
~ Isaiah 26:3-4 (author)
We see here why peace eludes us. We think we can find peace in prosperity, in vigor of health, in relationship with another human. These things can bring a measure of peace, especially when we recognize them as gifts from God.
But they are all temporal. Prosperity is maintained by no small effort. Health and vigor are under constant attack from lifestyle, environment, and age. Every human relationship will eventually fail us, since every other human is as flawed as ourselves.
YHWH (also Yahweh, Jehovah, the LORD) is the Rock of Ages—eternal, everlasting strength. He does not change. His love never fails.
The more we are fixed on temporal things, the more ways we experience disappointment in their failing us. The more we are fixed upon YHWH, and establish Him as the solid foundation of our lives, the more peace we find amid the failures of all that is temporal.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
~ Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
A closing thought about peace is this: just as lack of peace in one part of the body affects the whole person, lack of peace in one part of Christ’s body of believers affects the whole. Indeed, lack of peace in one part of humanity affects the whole.
2010 draws to a close on a world without peace. While each of us might work toward peace in our corner of the globe, we remember—in this expectant season of Christmas—that peace cannot be complete until The Prince of Peace again walks the earth, as He promised He would.
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What questions do you have about Christianity or the Bible? You're invited to leave them in the comments below (anonymous questions welcome), or email buildingHisbody [plus] @ gmail.com
© 2010, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
Image source: flickr.com