Above: Todd Lafferty in South Asia
Shalom, quiet stillness at dawn, a sleeping baby. What places and experiences come to mind when you think about peace?
We all know what the lack of peace looks like. We turn on the television news and hear shouting matches. The world erupts in violence with terror attacks, wars and interethnic fighting.
My family experienced that many years while living in Pakistan. Violence gripped the city of Karachi. Attacks on government buildings took place often. A tank was parked in the roundabout where we went grocery shopping — to keep the peace. We knew what the lack of peace looked like — we saw it daily.
One year we celebrated Christmas Eve with fellow believers under a “shamiana,” a colorful tent, in our front yard. As we set up the tent and welcomed friends and guests, we could hear the Muslim call to prayer. We worshiped outside on a cool, crisp December evening with our own loudspeakers declaring the coming of the Prince of Peace.
After the crowd departed, a quiet peace descended over the neighborhood like the cool air that enveloped us that evening. It was as if the world knew it was time to take a breath, enjoy a peace-filled night, and look expectantly for the coming of the Savior.
Perhaps you need to take a breath, push pause, and breathe in the stillness of the night. Worship the Lord in quietness and allow the peace of Christ to flood your heart this Christmas season in a fresh way. If you are still and listening, you might hear that angel chorus: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!”
The Son of God, born in a manger, came to bring peace in our hearts and peace among people. Seek the peace that passes all understanding this Christmas season — you’ll find it in the One who is the Prince of Peace.