Shalom / Peace
Advent Series
Biblical peace is about wholeness or completeness, and it was brought to earth in the person of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Why Do We Focus on the Topic of Peace During Advent?
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Questions for Personal Reflection or Group Discussion:

  1. The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the arrival of a future king who would make a covenant of shalom (peace, well-being) with his people. This king would set the world right and heal all that has been harmed. Read Isaiah 9:6-7 aloud together. What specific words or phrases stand out to you as you observe this passage and why?
  2. The prophet Isaiah looked forward to the arrival of the Prince of Peace, whose reign would lead to eternal shalom. Jesus’ arrival fulfilled Isaiah’s words. Read and reflect on Luke 2:9-15 as a group. Why do you think God announced the King’s arrival to no-name shepherds? What does this tell you about the nature of God and his Kingdom?
  3. The biblical story shows how humanity often chooses a way of life apart from God and suffers as a result. According to Colossians 1:19-23, what did God want to do to remedy this pain, and how did he accomplish his desire through Jesus?
  4. Jesus offers his peace to all people as a gift. Read Ephesians 2:11-16. How did Jesus make peace between two sharply divided people groups (Jews and Gentiles), and why did he do it (see Eph. 2:16)?
  5. Now, let’s carefully read Ephesians 4:1-3. How can humility, gentleness, patience, and love help maintain the unity Jesus calls his followers to? What happens to unity when one of these virtues is missing?

A Time of Hopeful Anticipation

For centuries, Christians around the world have used the four weeks leading up to Christmas to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. It’s a time when we observe his first coming while also looking forward to his second coming. In the four weeks of Advent, we meditate on hope, peace, joy, and love.

The Prince of Peace Arrives

The Hebrew Bible ends with God’s people still waiting expectantly for the ultimate king—the anointed one who would bring peace to the world. In the book of Isaiah, we read this prophecy about the long-awaited Messiah: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulders. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

When Jesus was born, angels announced his arrival on Earth by declaring, "I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a savior, who is Christ the Lord."

And Still We Wait

Jesus’ arrival activated the promises of God and the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible. The Gospel accounts declare Jesus to be God in human form, his son who came to earth to reconcile God’s people back to their covenant partnership with God. During Advent, we join in a centuries-long tradition and we wait. Just like God’s people eagerly awaited the arrival of the Messiah, we remember their hope and we still look forward to Jesus’ final return when he will reunite Heaven and Earth in the new creation. He is the ultimate King, who embodies God’s peace, joy, hope, and love and came to earth so that we might be united with God again.

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