Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Peace On Earth!

This morning my children are on the mend, and the world is returning to normal. Abigail is getting ready for school, and Zander managed to sleep all night without an attack, so it only gets better from here. So this morning I turned to a letter from Paul to help me thank God properly for the quick return to health for my family. 2 Thessalonians 1 is just the chapter I was looking for this morning. Specifically, verse 2. "May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace." Grace and Peace. What could be better than that!

Let's start with grace. According to my Bible, the Greek word for grace is related to a common greeting, and means kindness, or goodwill. May God give you grace. Hmm. May God give you kindness and goodwill. I think I like that thought. May he give me the grace TO be kind and share goodwill with others.

Then there's peace. The Hebrew greeting Shalom means peace! It has to do with an actual state of being. Not quiet or stillness of noise, it means stillness of the mind and heart. A calmness that we receive from God when he takes away our sin and welcomes us to his flock. Grace is how we best explain the great gift of Jesus, and peace is the result of that gift. I just love how they work together.

In Paul's various letters, he often described God as a God of peace and the God who gives peace. Philippians 4:9 says "Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you." God gives us the peace we need as we follow his instructions and remember what he has done for us. As followers of Christ, we have this wonderful life of peace that comes from grace. "Peace on earth, Goodwill toward men". That is really appropriate for today's thoughts. Jesus came to earth to bring us peace, via his grace. This Christmas season, may God continue to bless us all with peace. Peace of mind, peace of heart, peace of soul. It's a wonderful feeling.

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