Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever.
Malachi 3:1-4 I am sending my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.
Philippians 1:3-11 I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding
Luke 3:1-6 He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord's coming!'
On this the second week of Advent the focus is on Peace
Nearly eight hundred years before Jesus was born the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 9:6-7 about the plight of Israel.
Israel during the time of Isaiah was a dark, dark place. The Assyrians were continuously raiding it. Israel was waiting in the darkness and in fear for a King that would fix the situation that Israel was in. The whole kingdom longed for one who would bring order to chaos and bring peace to the nation.
The word that Isaiah wrote that means peace to us is the Hebrew word, Shalom.
The prophecy Isaiah spoke of was of the arrival of the Prince of Peace or The Prince of Shalom
Peace is usually used by us to mean the absence of war or the absence of strife and stress.
Shalom in the Bible is used most of the time to describe a state of well-being, tranquility, security, harmony, wellness, and times when everything seems to be perfect.
Shalom comes from the Hebrew root-word that means Wholeness.
Jesus then is the Prince of wholeness!
If we think about peace with a Hebrew mindset when the Angels announced the birth of Jesus in Luke 2:14 the shepherd would have heard something like this:
Glory to Yahweh in the highest!! Now there is wholeness on earth for those with whom God is pleased.
Or when Jesus said in John 14:27
“I am leaving you with a gift--wholeness of mind and heart. And the wholeness I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
True peace then is found in wholeness. Or maybe completeness not separated or in parts
When the shepherds heard the angels they heard*: here is the prince of peace, here is the one that is peace*
They heard: here is the one who brings wholeness.
Jesus is the light of the wrld; he shines his light into the dark, He is the Prince of Wholeness
Lord, we bless you and thank you for the peace we have now through your Son, the Prince of Peace. We praise you for the wholeness that comes through peace with you.
We pray for the peace that will one day reign upon the earth and we pray for the strength to work towards peace on earth.