In early December 2020, we "decked the halls" of our home for Christmas. Above the couch I carefully hung a rustic wooden board with one word painted on it: "Peace." I didn't think much of it at the time. But, when the calendar turned to January 2021 and we started to pack away the holiday decor, I hesitated when it was time to remove the "Peace" sign from above the couch.
And you know what? It is STILL THERE.
Why has this Christmas decoration taken up permanent residence in our home? Great question! It's because I couldn't remove my daily reminder to sustain my:
- Belief that peace is God's desire for humanity, and thus, is possible.
- Hope for peace in my neighborhood, city, country, and world.
- Commitment to be an active peacemaker.
Christmas is when the Prince of Peace entered the scene (Isaiah 9:6). In this passage, Jesus is referred to as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. During Jesus' ministry, he proclaimed "I have told you these things, so that in my you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). As a Jesus-follower, I'm stubborn when it comes to believing that peace is possible. But it's not always easy. Over the last few years, we have experienced unrest, hatred, and division both locally and globally. My "Peace" sign is a reminder that Jesus created a way for peace to reign. And I make a daily choice to believe.
A stubborn belief that peace is possible feeds my hopefulness. I hold out hope for tangible peace. I hope that people experience peace within themselves. I also hope for peace in our society. In Colossians 3:15 we read, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful." My "Peace" sign is a reminder to let peace rule in my heart which turns into a prayer for peace in our communities.
Jesus taught, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9). In the book of James, we get one example of what it means to be a peacemaker: "If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?" (James 2:16) 1 Peter 3:11 says "They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it." The theme here? Peace requires making. It's not the absence of conflict. Rather, peace is action. My "Peace" sign is a reminder that I'm called to be a peacemaker. I don't get to sit on the sidelines and hope for others to bring peace to our world. I must be involved.
So, this Christmas, as we decorate our home, my "Peace" sign is already in its place. And it will probably remain there all year long (again). It just won't come down.
I'll leave you with this...There are many blessings of peace throughout the Bible. One of my favorites is Jude 1:2
"Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance."