“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, PEACE to those on whom his favor rests…” (Luke 2:14 – emphasis mine)
So what is this “peace” the angel was talking about? We see in Scripture many references to peace. We claim a “peace that passes all understanding” in Christian circles. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives…” He’s trying to make a distinction between how we may interpret peace, and what is true peace found in Him. Knowing Jesus and trusting in His sovereignty can give assurance that everything is okay even when there is evidence to the contrary. But there are other cultural distinctions that may contribute to how we may understand peace.
In Western culture, if I thought about a peaceful person or a peaceful situation, I would imagine calm and serenity with the absence of agitation or conflict. Certainly there is an aspect of peace that can bring about feelings of wellness and calm. But in the Middle Eastern culture in which Scripture was written, peace was not defined as the absence of something, but rather the presence of something. Peace isn’t the absence of conflict, it is the presence of righteousness.
As we live with this definition of peace, it demands we contribute what we’ve been given. There is no room for people of peace to be apathetic or lazy or quit before their last breath. Everyone has something to contribute to humanity, and when each person is doing what they were designed to do, it contributes to harmony…peace.
The presence of Jesus ignites the spiritual gifts that have been put inside each one of us in advance. These gifts become an opened gift for the world to enjoy…the divine peace of Jesus “on those whom his favor rests.” Jesus brought peace to the world with his contributions both human and divine. He gave everything. He didn’t hold back or become a spectator to God’s plan. We are called to understand peace as he lives it, not by sitting on the sidelines and avoiding conflict, but by sharing what we’ve been given with the world. What piece will you contribute? What peace has Jesus put in you to share?