“And you, my little son,
will be called the prophet of the Most High,
because you will prepare the way for the Lord.
You will tell his people how to find salvation
through forgiveness of their sins.
Because of God’s tender mercy,
the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:76–79 NLT)
Since shalom is a Hebrew word, it only appears in the Old Testament, but the idea behind it—wholeness, harmony, peace—is found throughout scripture. When Zechariah prophecies in his song of praise about the morning light from heaven that will guide the people of Israel to the path of peace, he is referencing this idea of shalom, “everything the way God intended it to be.” In fact, by using this imagery, Zechariah is directly linking the coming Messiah to the reconciliation of all creation back to God. Zechariah is celebrating the work of God that is taking root in their midst.
Decades later, John would preach salvation through the forgiveness of sins and proclaim the coming of the Messiah, serving as a signpost to direct people to the One who would guide us to the path of peace, restoration, and wholeness. How can you serve as a modern-day John, directing people toward Jesus so that they might find peace? What are the works of God taking root in your midst that you can celebrate today?