I took Greek class at 7 am for an entire year as a Theology major. It was tough to get there but my professor always kept it interesting. I’m still amazed at how he could take small portions of scripture in the original language and extract such powerful messages. After many of his revelations it was common for us to say, “that will preach!”With any language learning the vocabulary is critical. For whatever reasons it seems that there are always a few words that stick better than others. Every Greek student knows the word “kai” (and). But the word that has always stuck in my head is “Eirene” (i-ray’-nay) which is the word for “peace”. Not sure why I latched on to it, but I like the way it sounds. I recall it easily and I’m reminded of it at Christmas time.
What I’ve learned is that peace is such a gift. It’s the one I need the most. I’m not necessarily speaking of the lack of military conflicts around the world. Although that is a gift too and I pray for that peace as well. Really the peace I’m talking about is that peace on the inside that can come to anyone even in the midst of chaos all around.
It’s the peace that I believe Jesus spoke of in John 14, “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.” It’s the peace between God and humanity that ultimately was accomplished through Jesus. It’s the peace we needed and the peace that we all continue to seek after. The book of Ephesians puts it just right, “The book of Ephesians puts it just right, “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”
Peace is just the opposite of stress and anxiety. It is confidence about the future not because you know what’s going to happen but because you know who is in control of what will happen. It is being ok with the fact that you aren’t in control when everything is out of control. It is crucifying the control freak in all of us and simply believing completely that Jesus is who He says He is. The Savior. The Redeemer. The Prince of Peace. Emerging from my addiction I wrote this about the enormous gift of PEACE I received:
“The best way to describe it is an overwhelming sense of peace. In the same way that Jesus had spoken words and calmed the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee, he had brought peace to my soul. No more panicky feeling that someone would discover my sin, no more hiding or scrambling to cover up my activity, no more anxious feelings when left alone. Just peace.” -Breaking the Silence, chapter 4
On this Christmas Eve I know God still gives the gift of peace. Pray for it. When it comes you will know. It really is all we need. Just peace.