By Deacon Timothy Yeo
A sense of nostalgia filled my heart this week as I stepped into the choir practice and picked up the scores for the 65th anniversary celebrations. It has easily been 5 years since I’ve looked at choral scores and 20 years since I was actively singing in a choir, yet the familiar memories of Christmas carols and acapella music came alive in me. I went back after the practice and opened up YouTube to listen to Handel’s Messiah just to feel reconnected again to my choral roots.
Isaiah 9:6 reads “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
The song and verse both have the phrase ‘Prince of Peace’. In this second week of Advent, as a reflection, ask yourself, “What does peace mean to you?” Is it merely a state of mind? Contentment perhaps? Or does it also come with a clear understanding of your purpose for your time here on earth.
The Hebrew word for “peace,” shalom, is often used in reference to an appearance of calm and tranquility of individuals, groups, and nations. The Greek word eirene means “unity and accord”; Paul uses eirene to describe the objective of the New Testament church. But the deeper, more foundational meaning of peace is “the spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s restoration with God.”
In our sinful state, we are enemies with God (Romans 5:10). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are restored to a relationship of peace with God (Romans 5:1). This is the deep, abiding peace between our hearts and our Creator that cannot be taken away (John 10:27–28) and the ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s work as “Prince of Peace.”
When I was younger, I never really appreciated what living in God’s peace meant as I chased after the usual things that we tend to waste our youth on like wealth, recognition and status. It was only after years of disappointment, dissatisfaction and disillusionment with ‘Chasing after the Wind’ that I am slowly realizing happiness and peace truly doesn’t come from all these things but from Him, our God and Father.
As we approach Christmas day where we celebrate our Lord’s birth and look forward to His second coming, I would like to encourage you to take some time out to reflect on your own inner life and ask where is God in all of it. Has His peace filled all corners of your heart and given you life, or have you been keeping Him out and holding on to burdens and baggage that have kept you away all these years.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27