The Path of Peace | Advent Week Two
“We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live…Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” —Luke 1:74-75; 78-79
In our constantly moving and evolving world, peace can feel like a fantasy. Cycles of violence, systems of injustice, and ever-expanding political divisions surround us; finding space to pause our daily grind often seems impossible. In this Advent season, we might lump all our talk of peace on earth in with flying reindeer and enchanted snowmen—a nice idea, a childish fairytale.
Here in Luke chapter 1, Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, speaks of peace not as an ephemeral far-off dream, but as a tangible and imminent reality. “The morning light from heaven is about to break upon us”—peace arrives with Jesus.
Often, we understand peace as a feeling of quiet calmness, a veil of passivity and comfort. But this is merely a shadow of the biblical meaning of peace. The peace promised by Advent—the peace anticipated by Zechariah and declared by the angels—is God’s Shalom. This Hebrew word is used throughout the Bible (Genesis 43:27, Exodus 4:18, Psalm 122:6) and describes the wholeness and completeness of creation as God intends it. The peace of Shalom encompasses justice, unity, satisfaction, and joy. It is the total restoration of all things, reconciling humanity to our Creator, to each other, to our planet.
God’s peace is mightier than any mayhem or unrest in this world. Shalom fundamentally turns the world as we know it on its head, breaking through the chaos and darkness to revitalize and renew. Peace does not come only when the struggles and troubles have been met. It is in the midst of an unsure and violent world—one of harsh taxes and economic disparity, under the thumb of a cold empire and a genocidal King—that Jesus comes. The wonder and beauty of Christmas is Jesus’ willingness to enter into our brokenness and guide us forward into something better, something whole.
Advent invites us to participate in God’s vision of peace here and now. As we encounter Jesus—not just in the manger on Christmas but each day of our lives—God shares the vision of Shalom with us. We are empowered to live out of this vision, pursuing goodness and beauty in all things. Peace is lived out in acknowledging and advocating for the less fortunate, in standing up for the silenced or oppressed. We take part in Shalom when we choose compassion and reconciliation.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, models for us what it looks like to stand in the midst of a divided and fearful world and choose unity and love. “We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear.” Peace is not a fantasy, but an exhortation to experience creation as it was in the beginning and as it will be forevermore thanks to the grace of God.
In this Advent season may we embrace peace wholeheartedly, participating in God’s Shalom in our lives, our communities, and our world. Let us celebrate the dawning of the restorative light of Jesus. May he guide us to the path of peace. Amen.
Words: Emma Tweitmann
Photography: Ricardo Gomez Angel, Aditya Vyas