Merry Christmas!

Dear co-labourers in the Kingdom of God,

It is with the expectation that the Advent season reminds us of that I pray for you Shalom.

Shalom in the places where darkness still lurks; where oppression, marginalization, disenfranchisement and blindness engulf the neighbourhoods; where hopelessness abounds and love seems utopian.merry-christmas

Shalom in the mystery of Christ; in the secret places of our hearts; in the midst of our homes, of our families, of the work of our hands.

Shalom that brings redemption, reconciliation, resurrection and restoration; of broken lives; of ailing bodies, of shattered communities.

Shalom as the peace of God. The Shalom that Adam and Eve were in. That place where the presence of God’s state of justice was present in everything they were and in before creation was broken by foolishness and ambition and curiosity. The Shalom that now became the state which the Jewish people, our people, the world’s people now search for as our hope, our only hope.

In Jewish practice there is this searching for shalom found in tikkun olam which is “a Hebrew phrase that means ‘repairing the world’ or (healing the world) which suggests humanity’s shared responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world” (Wikipedia). It is this Shalom that Jesus brought. We call it salvation, but it isn’t new, it isn’t improved; it is the epoch ushered in through a wrinkly little babe, the incarnation of He who so loves the world, the Prince of Shalom himself entering our brokenness, our darkness, our restlessness to bring back to earth the Presence of Shalom and the state of justice that delivers God’s hope, God’s love, God’s healing, God’s salvation into the places and spaces where anything but peace reigns.

I pray you this Shalom as you share in, participate in, co-labour in, our mission, our shared responsibility to bring this amazing gift, this undeserved gift, this incredible, holy gift into the places around you and beyond you.

May this Peace, this Shalom be the catalyst for all you do this season and the year to come May it grow deeper and broader and higher than you have ever hoped or imagined.

It is a privilege to journey alongside you all in this amazing adventure of being God’s peace-bearers; Shalom-bearers.

May you find it in the most unexpected places and take it to the least comfortable places as you journey on.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.

Shannon Youell

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