-Marsha Garrett, 2018
“I am leaving you with a gift-peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27. (NLT)
With the birth of Christ came the gift of peace. Isaiah says Jesus is the prince of
peace and the giver of peace. “My peace I give to you,” Jesus told his disciples.
Galatians 5: 22 assures us that the Holy Spirit gives peace as a gift.
And peace can also be defined as harmony, calmness, and order.
The Jewish word for peace or peace unto you is Shalom. The word shalom was used often by a former missionary and pastor, Rev. Troy Bennett, a dear friend of ours, to greet individuals and the Spilman congregation. Each time I hear the word shalom used, it brings back many memories of Rev. Bennett and especially those of Christmas services that he led.
Christmas should be a time of peace and the most wonderful time of the year, but this is not always the case for many people. Peace is disrupted by worldly circumstances, such as death, loneliness, difficult family times, war, and more. We have had a few Christmases that were not so joyful, like when our children or family members were sick during the Christmas Season and the two Christmases that our son and daughter-in-law served in Iraq at war and away from family. Those Christmases definitely did not feel like ones of peace, tranquility, nor celebration and they are not fond memories for our family members.
So how do we find peace in the midst of such times?
For us, it was and is through the support of our family, our Oxford Baptist Church family, and friends…and far beyond that, it was and still is, God’s presence and peace through the Holy Spirit that allows us to go about our daily tasks during difficult times. It is through the worship of the birth of Christ, knowing Christ as one’s personal Saviour, and through the Holy Spirit that peace is given.
The peace of Christmas came the night of Christ’s birth and the promise declared by the angels, ”Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace.” In the midst of trials and struggles, may each of us look to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit to experience His gifts of peace and eternal life that He freely gives us all.
Shalom, peace be unto you!