For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
More than at any other time in my life that I can remember, I find that my prayers keep coming back to peace. With wars, conflict, financial strain, full diaries, deadlines, Christmas gift-buying, and sometimes even the pressures and worries that the coming togetherness can bring, our hearts and minds can be easily distracted and washed with anxiety. Daily, I am putting my hand on my heart, closing my eyes, breathing deeply and focusing on the fact that He IS peace and He IS here. I need to be still. I need to keep God’s face right in front of me.
Advent is a chance to do just that — to look up! To shift our focus to the One who shoulders governments, yet carries us like a Father carries His children. Advent is an invitation to rediscover God in the rhythm of life in this precise moment in history, and to step into a season of anticipation and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth! Whether you light a candle or eat daily chocolate, the invitation is to do it in a way which is mindful of Jesus. He is so worthy.
As we decorate and celebrate,
we do so to mark the memory of Your redemptive movement
into our broken world, O God.
Our glittering ornaments and Christmas trees,
our festive carols, our sumptuous feasts —
By these small tokens we affirm
that something amazing has happened in time and space —
that God, on a particular night, in a particular place, so many years ago,
was born to us, an infant King, our Prince of Peace.
Every Moment Holy, Douglas McKelvey
Isaiah prophesied the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and on the night Jesus was born, the angels heralded His birth saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom His favour rests!” (Luke 2:14) The Hebrew word for peace is ‘Shalom’, which means more than our English word for peace. Shalom isn’t simply the absence of conflict, but it also points to the presence of something better in its place. It means more than just stopping fighting; it means working together for each other’s benefit. To experience shalom is to be restored to completeness in every area. (The Bible Project) At its very essence, Advent is an invitation to experience Shalom — the deep abiding peace that brings restoration — and to recognise Jesus as the Prince of Peace.
Peace in trials.
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (Jonah 14:27)
Peace as we grow in maturity.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely…” (1 Thessalonians 5:23a)
Peace in victories.
“The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Romans 16:20)
Peace in relationships.
“…endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3).
Peace as the fruit of Him in us.
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
So this Advent, consider taking a minute each day to close your eyes, breathe deeply and treasure our Prince of Peace. Remind yourself that He is your Shalom. Ask Him if there is anyone in your life who also needs to know that He is their Prince of Peace and share Him with them.
Caroline and the eFocus Team
This is a great short video explaining a bit more about Shalom: