December 21, 2020
The following blog was written by Nick Stonestreet, CEO for Ronald Blue Trust.
Reflecting on 2020, I’m somewhat relieved and surprised that it has already come to an end. Although none of us know the future, no one could have predicted this unprecedented year. My first devotion to our employees in January was about shalom, the modern Hebrew word for peace. According to Jewish tradition, when we wish others shalom, we are expressing hope that they will experience physical, emotional, and psychological peace, and that harm will not come to their bodies, hearts, or minds. Unfortunately, the trying events of 2020 have taken a toll on many of our bodies, hearts, and minds; 2020 challenged our physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing.
As difficult as this year has been, as we enjoy the Christmas season, I would encourage you to embrace hope, seek peace, and look for ways to become a peacemaker. In Matthew 5 during the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches the disciples about how they are called to live. In verse nine, He says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” Jesus knew what it was like to live in a divided world, but He often shared hope and wisdom about how to address difficult issues — issues present in biblical times as well as today — and he encouraged the disciples and us to bring peace to others.
Sadly, there are people all around us hurting — from illness, loss, discrimination, or loneliness — who need peace and hope. As Christians we are blessed to receive God’s grace and peace, but we are also called to share that with others. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Abound in hope! What would our world look like if people were abounding with hope? How would the world look different if Christians were filled with joy and peace and exuded hope?
Like so many other times this year, our holiday gatherings and traditions may look different. However, this season is the perfect time to seek and grant peace — peace for ourselves, peace with others, peace on Earth, and peace in the midst of the storm known as 2020. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He knows what each one of us is going through and He is in it with us. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, may we learn from the challenges of 2020, pause to find gratitude for the blessings of today, embrace the hope of tomorrow, and seek to be peacemakers in the new year.
Scripture quotations taken from the NIV(R) Copyright by Biblica, Inc.(TM)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version(R). Copyright(C) 1982 by Thomas Nelson.