It’s been a tumultuous week in our city. The peace we all assume as normative was brutally disrupted by a crazed gunman who caused enormous disruption and the sad loss of innocent life. It should not be so. We all long for a world where peace is normative.
The Hebrew word for peace is ‘Shalom’. To be in a state of shalom, for the ancient Hebrew, was much more than the absence of conflict, it was to be living in a state of completeness, soundness, and wholeness. Shalom was to experience the joy and richness of being fully human, as God intended. Sin disrupts shalom. 
Christmas is a celebration of shalom, the peace only God can bring. Isaiah prophesied about a child to be born, ‘Prince of Peace’. Angels appeared to shepherds in the field praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests’. Jesus came to bring us wholeness, completeness, and sound-ness, not just as individuals, but as re-created community under his reign. 
This Christmas we get to celebrate the peace only Jesus can bring. It is possible that as you sit down with family and friends, old wounds may be inflamed and past hurts brought back to mind. If so, remember that you belong to the Prince of Peace and you are with those you love celebrating the season of peace. 
Instead of “Merry Christmas!’, how about wishing everyone a ‘Shalom Christmas!’. Now, as much as ever, our city needs you and our world needs you to be a peacemaker.