And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Shalom is the Hebrew word for peace. Since we lit the candle of “Peace” of on the Advent wreath this past Sunday, we’ve had peace as our theme for this second week of Advent. So let consider “Shalom.”
In Hebrew, and in Israel and among our Jewish brothers and sisters today, Shalom can be a greeting, a farewell or a description. It can refer to inner peace or outer peace. It might refer to peace with God or peace with neighbor – and peace with oneself. The breadth and depth of the word is virtually limitless – as is the very concept of biblical peace. Like a finely cut diamond turning in the light, this Shalom, this biblical peace, sparkles regardless of the facet we see. Each has its own value, its own place, its own necessity.
What God offers to us and asks from us is that we seek this kind of peace and live this kind of peace. Whether in greeting or goodbyes, we can wish for ourselves and those around us this invaluable gift. Our world so desperately needs it: Shalom.
The Prince of Peace
Jesus became intimately associated with this “Prince of Peace” description in Isaiah 9 because he so imbodied Shalom. Now Jesus calls upon us to work for and share in this same kind of all-encompassing peace. Be aware of it in yourself; be conscious of it in the lives of others. Seek to give it, try to spread it, do your best to cultivate it whenever and wherever you can.
In doing so, we will all be better followers of Jesus; our lives will be richer, fuller, and more meaningful. And the Shalom peace we exhibit will be contagious. May it be so!
With gratitude and the hope for a peace that passes all understanding in us all,
I heard the bells on Christmas day, their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the words repeat of peace on earth, good will …
– Henry W. Longfellow