Drama / Role play
Discover the meaning behind the Hebrew greeting, "Shalom." Discussion point: Introduces important concepts about how God works to restore peace, beginning with the Fall.
Discover the meaning behind the Hebrew greeting, "Shalom."
Discussion point: Introduces important concepts about how God works to restore peace, beginning with the Fall.
Introduce your children to the Hebrew word Shalom. Shalom is traditionally used as a greeting. Shalom Aleichem means “Peace be with you.” Although many people use the term casually, as we would say “hello” or “good-bye,” the word Shalom has a much deeper meaning.
Explain that Shalom is a sense of wholeness and well-being that exists when we are at peace with God and others because we have allowed God to forgive our sins and replace our sinful human nature with His new nature (Romans 8:5-8). Everyday circumstances occur that require us to ask God to send His Holy Spirit to bring Shalom into our lives. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” It is wanting things “my way” or our sinful nature that tempts us to want to repay evil for evil, to be first and to have the biggest and the best for ourselves. But Jesus tells us that the first will be last. He teaches us His way: to share what we have, to give generously and to forgive others readily. Following our sin nature fosters discord, but Jesus’ way promises peace.
Through familiarizing your children with the significance of this word, you can expand their vocabulary and their understanding of God’s role in bringing peace into our lives. For younger children, you may want to complete these activities over the course of a few days. If you prefer, these activities can be done using the word peace instead of Shalom.
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
After explaining “my way” versus “Jesus’ way” to your children, have them role-play situations where they can practice. Have your children practice saying: “I am feeling upset about ______________. Instead of (yelling/crying/hitting/sulking/whining), I will pray and tell God about the problem. Then I know that Jesus’ peace will protect my heart and mind from having a bad attitude.” Here are some example situations:
Close by pretending to bring out a large, beautifully wrapped gift. Have your children guess who the amazing gift is from. After the guesses have been completed, explain that gifts usually do come from people who love us. Ask if they know who loves them more than anyone else. Explain that God’s love is bigger than the sky (Psalm 108:4) and that Shalom is such a great gift, only God can give it to us. Make it clear that it is God’s Holy Spirit living in us, which can bring peace to our lives (Galatians 5:16-26). Tell them the good news that God is delighted to give us Shalom (His peace) when we ask Him to. Pray together and ask for the good gift of the Holy Spirit to bring peace to your family.
Challenge your family to use the word Shalom as a greeting, but also as a way of saying, “I forgive you,” “I want the best for you, not myself,” or “I share with you in the joy of your success.” Explain that whenever a family member says Shalom to another, they are saying, “I choose to let God bring peace to this relationship.”