"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests."
-The Heavenly Host to the Shepherds, Luke 2:14
After three months of praying and planning, Room at the Inn finally took place tonight. We held a banquet for our new friends Tiffany and Dante, and invited their family and a few friends from Highland Community Church who came along side us on this project. Our purpose was to reunite Dante and Tiffany with their children and the family members are currently providing care for them. Only one of the three children made it to the dinner, but the event was still a success. It was an edifying experience for everyone involved.
At the dinner, I spoke about how Christ was born to bring us peace. The angels sang (or said) "peace to [mankind]" at the birth of Jesus. But what is this peace? Is it the absence of war? Is it the absence of conflict in our lives? These things will happen in the end, but what of right now? What peace is there for the present moment?
The Jewish understanding of peace goes far beyond our definitions. We think of peace in negative terms: the absence of strife. But for the Jews, peace, or shalom, was a positive idea. Shalom meant wholeness, completeness, rightness. Shalom was the original state of things before the Fall of mankind. Shalom is the state of being that God intends for His creation. Shalom is not, however, our current natural state of being. Things break when they fall, and we have all fallen from what God intended for us. Thus, the world is a broken place. We are all broken people. Ours is a world of broken hearts and broken bones. We suffer through broken relationships and broken homes.
In the midst of this brokenness, the angels announce peace. They proclaim shalom once more over mankind. The Healer of the world is born. The Redeemer has entered into our broken world Himself to be broken. And in His brokenness, creation is restored. So we wait. We wait for the healing and restoration of all things. Yet this shalom is available to us now. This is the glad tiding of great joy.
The breaking of creation began in the human heart. The healing will begin nowhere else. Jesus offers healing and wholeness to our hearts. When hearts are made whole, there is no longer need for war, for conflict, for strife. There is no need for envy, or fear, or pride. We discover that there is a new Kingdom at hand. And on the throne of this Kingdom is one called the Prince of Peace.