Yesterday the kids and I discussed the “peace candle” on the Advent wreath. My almost-ten-year old has a great definition of peace:
Me: “What is peace?”
Abi: “It’s rest. Rest in your heart…or rest between you and another person.”
Me: “Wow. That’s so right.”
Peace, or shalom, is that rest for which we were created. But we traded rest for rebellion and became restless in our hearts and lost the rest we had between ourselves and God, between ourselves and each other, and between ourselves and the creation that we were commanded to cultivate.
But Jesus, the Prince of Peace who is at perfect rest with God, came and “was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace…” (Isaiah 9:6, 53:5). And now those who have been “justified by faith” in Him “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life” (Romans 5:1, 10). Jesus traded His rest for our rebellion, and that rest can be ours if we rest ourselves in Him by faith.
“For as long, then, as that promise of resting in Him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified. We received the same promises as those people in the wilderness, but the promises didn’t do them a bit of good because they didn’t receive the promises with faith. If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting” (Hebrews 4:1-3 in The Message).
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, New Living Translation).
Oh Jesus, Prince of Peace, help me to remember the Good News that You took my chastisement and brought me peace with God. Guard my heart and mind today with the rest that is Yours, the gospel peace that is mine because I am in You.