Every so often I want to revisit something that drips with meaning and is always refreshing. On this sunny afternoon the last week of Advent I keep thinking about peace in the world. The Hebrew word for peace, shalom – שָׁלוֹם – is derived from a root word that denotes wholeness or completeness.
Peace in Hebrew thought is not limited to the political domain — to the absence of war and enmity — or to the social — to the absence of quarrel and strife. It ranges over several human experiences and can refer in different contexts to bountiful physical conditions, to a moral value, and, ultimately, to a cosmic principle and a divine attribute. God gives peace. Jesus often greeted his disciples by saying, “Peace be with you.” Don’t you want to hear that greeting and to feel that truth made real?
This last week of Advent weave together what God wants for us and all creation – justice, fulfillment, and delight – this is what Jesus offers. God wants to be like us – to understand the creation, to love it like God did in the Garden. We call it peace but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire. Peace that God gives means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight – a rich state of affairs in which human needs are met and natural gifts are fulfilled. Pray that we experience a week that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator, the Creation, and the Savior open doors of welcome to the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom is the way things ought to be. A wonderful life that everyone can experience.