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Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” – Luke 2:13-14
Peace is a noble aspiration at any time. In times of war or in times of harmony. When you find yourself at odds with someone, or when you are feeling pretty good about your relationships. When you feel in harmony with God, or when you feel a discord. It is always important to pursue peace.
Peace is so much more than the absence of conflict. Maybe you can lay your head on your pillow tonight and thank God that you experienced no conflict, but that is not the same thing as experiencing peace. If a husband and wife get tired of shouting at each other and both slip into an icy indifference, that is not peace.
In Hebrew, the word for “peace” is shalom, a well wishing that says it all: may you be healthy, whole and complete. May you know where you fit in the universe, and may you find tranquility there. Augustine said that peace is “the tranquility of order.” When you know where you fit into God’s world—that you are higher than the animals, but less than God—that is the sense of order that brings tranquility.
Therefore, we pray for peace at Christmas. We pray that both others and we discover the Christmas shalom—the confidence that when God’s favor, his undeserved grace, rests on us, we will know a peace that goes beyond understanding. The peace gifted to us because Christ came into the world and put things in order, beginning with his birth, and completed in his sacrificial death and triumphant resurrection.
Prayer for today: Dear God, let your favor rest on me, and let me stand in the peace that Christ has made possible.
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