Skip to main content
Jesus not only brought us peace with God, but gives us the peace of God in our hearts.

As I write this, the Israel-Hamas war and the Russian-Ukraine war are ongoing. Other conflicts across the globe that may not be making headlines continue. Closer to home, there are mass shootings and killings. Political and ideological polarization threatens to divide nations. Our own denomination seems on the verge of tearing apart due to theological conflicts. Family conflicts abound. Many hearts, including mine, are not at peace.

From my seat as editor, I can see the deep divisions in our denomination. From the letters I receive and the comments to our readers’ survey, some readers think I am “the best editor ever,” while others think I am a “false teacher” and want me fired. Though a small example, it is still a reflection of the far bigger and more important issues that divide us.

Yet we are approaching Christmas, which marks the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Jesus came and preached the “good news of peace” (Acts 10:36; Eph. 2:17). Even though our allegiance to Jesus may bring opposition (Matt. 10:34-35), we are called to be peacemakers (Matt. 5:9) and to strive for peace (Rom. 14:19). Peace, along with righteousness and joy, is an element of the kingdom of God (Rom. 14:17). It is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).

Jesus not only brought us peace with God (Rom. 5:1), but gives us the peace of God in our hearts (John 14:27). But to be honest, I am struggling to experience God’s peace.

The Bible’s concept of peace was derived from the Hebrew word shalom. Shalom, though often translated as “peace” in English, has a wide range of meanings, including wholeness, well-being, and harmonious relationships. Biblical peace, therefore, is not simply the absence of conflict. It is not a trouble-free life. It runs deeper than that.

Can one have such things as well-being, wholeness, or even harmonious relationships in the midst of turmoil, confusion, and conflict? Such peace indeed “transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). But I believe it is rooted in God’s unfailing love for us.

Scripture called God the “God of love and peace” (2 Cor. 13:11). I believe God’s promise to ancient Israel applies to us too: “‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you” (Isa. 54:10).

The late Catholic priest Henri Nouwen once wrote, “Only those who deeply know that they are loved and rejoice in that love can be true peacemakers” (Seeds of Hope, p. 172). I need to remind myself of God’s love for me. Indeed, I need to rejoice in it! I need to know, deeply and truly, that Christ loves me despite all my failures and sins—and that his love will not be shaken. Then I will experience God’s peace. Then will I be free from my insecurities and doubts to serve as a co-peacemaker with Christ.

This Christmas, I pray that you all may deeply know that you are loved by God and freed to be Christ’s peacemakers. “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you” (2 Thess. 3:16).

We Are Counting on You

The Banner is more than a magazine; it’s a ministry that impacts lives and connects us all. Your gift helps provide this important denominational gathering space for every person and family in the CRC.

Give Now