The word “peace” comes from the Greek word eirene, the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word shalom, which expresses the idea of wholeness, completeness, or tranquillity in the soul that is unaffected by the outward circumstances or pressures.
King Darius wanted to appoint the best men to be his new government leaders. He noticed a Jewish man named Daniel. (Daniel was about 65-70 years old and had lived in Babylon for most of his life.) Daniel was a very hard worker. He was trustworthy and he never cheated anyone. Daniel always acted responsibly. King Darius appointed Daniel as a special helper to the king.
Daniel worked very hard for the king. He was never lazy. He always tried to do his best. One of the reasons Daniel did such a good job was that he knew that God would want him to work with all of his heart. Soon, Daniel was doing such a good job that King Darius decided to make him ruler over all the other helpers in the kingdom.
King Darius liked Daniel, but the king’s other helpers did not! They were jealous of Daniel! They wanted to get Daniel in trouble. They kept trying to find Daniel doing something wrong so they could tell Darius. But they could never see Daniel doing wrong. Daniel always worked hard. He loved God and he prayed to God.
Finally, the king’s helpers came up with a plan to get rid of Daniel. If they could get the king to make a law about praying to God, then they could trap Daniel.
The helpers went to King Darius and gave him lots of compliments. They told him that he was so good he was like a god. They said that all the king’s helpers wanted the king to make a law. (That was not true because only a few of the king’s helpers wanted the king to make a law.) They said that the law should say that no one would be allowed to pray to any god for one month. They could only pray to King Darius. If anyone disobeyed the law, then they should be thrown into a pit full of lions.
King Darius liked this idea. He felt very important. He wrote the law down and signed it. Since the king signed it everyone had to obey it. It was the law of the Medes and Persians that once a king signed a law then it could not be changed. The king could not even change it.
When Daniel heard about the new law, he was very sad. He had always tried to do his best to serve the king, but he knew that he could not pray to King Darius. That would be wrong. He could only ever pray to the one true God. So, Daniel continued to pray to the God three times each day. He kept praying like he always did.
But this time the king’s other helpers were ready! They had been watching Daniel and they knew when he prayed. They went straight to the king and told him about it.
King Darius was very sad. Now he knew that his helpers had tricked him, but he could not change the law. He ordered Daniel thrown into a lion’s den. Before he put Daniel inside, he said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
A stone was rolled over the entrance of the den. A seal was put on the stone and wax melted onto it. The king pressed his ring into the wax to form a seal. When anyone looked at the seal, they would know that no one could move the stone and help Daniel.
During the night the king could not eat or sleep. He kept thinking about his helper, Daniel. Early the next morning the king rushed to the lion’s den. When he got near the entrance he yelled out to Daniel, “Daniel, was your God able to save you?”
Then the king heard Daniel’s voice. He was alive! Daniel said, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was right with God.”
Daniel was alive! God had chosen this way to let the king know that He was God and powerful, and that Daniel belonged to Him.
When Daniel was taken out of the den there was not one scratch on him. The king was so happy that Daniel was alive. He was not happy, however, with his other helpers. He did not like it because they had tried to trick him. He ordered them to be thrown in the lion’s den.
Then King Darius ordered that everyone must show respect to Daniel’s God. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”
Daniel had done nothing wrong. He was a victim of other people’s jealousy. Yet Daniel was prepared. He regularly prayed to God. His faith was in place before it was needed. He would have felt peace in the situation. Whether God saved him from the lions or not, he knew he was God’s and would be with Him. And God did not keep him waiting. The angel must have been in the lions’ den before Daniel was thrown in, as we can read that when the others were thrown in “before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.”
When you trust God, you can have peace inside, no matter what happens. You might say a prayer like this: “God, I’m trusting you with this problem. I know you love me.” If you can pray that—and mean it—you’ll start to feel some of God’s peace! Why? Because you’re letting him take care of the thing that worries you. Don’t wait until something bad happens, be like Daniel, be prepared. Pray and spend time every day with God.
God, who gives love and peace, will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 CEV
Try to get along and live peacefully with each other. Now I pray that God, who gives love and peace, will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 CEV
Doves are referred to the symbol that define the presence of God. The Biblical story of Noah’s Ark truly defines the symbolism of white doves with peace. After the Great Flood, Noah sent out white dove to see if there was any land. The dove returned with olive twig its beak, which meant that it had found dry land somewhere. This brought relief to Noah, who had spent almost a year on the ark. Since then, white dove with an olive twig in its beak, is considered symbol of peace.
Another story from Central Asia also portrays doves as the symbol of peace. As per the story, two kings head for war. One of the kings asks for his armour, upon which he is told that a dove has made a nest in his helmet. His mother asks him to leave the nest and the bird undisturbed, as it is the symbol of purity and love. The king agrees and heads for the war, without his helmet.
Upon seeing the king without his armour, the second king asks for a reason. Both the kings call for negotiation and meet to talk. When the second king comes to know about the love and compassion the other king had showed for the dove bird, he was moved. He felt that he had misjudged a man with such a compassionate heart. After this, both the kings settle down with an agreement of peace. This is how the white dove started to be known as the bird of peace.
Today we are making a dove. There are a couple of options depending on which suits you best. (You could also make a paper mache dove using newspaper and glue. This is a long process and quite messy but something you may never have time to do again!)
The first option requires paper. I have included a dove body pattern that you can print off or use it as an idea to draw your own. Then fold a piece of paper in half and trace around your hand. You will need to put your wrist slightly above the fold, so you have a straight narrow piece of paper staple onto the dove body. Cut out through both layers of paper, making sure you do not cut them apart at the fold. Place the fold at the top of the dove’s body and staple through all three layers. Fold the hands out to form wings. Draw on eyes and beak and hang up using a cotton thread/string/fishing line.
The second option requires 3 paper muffin cases. Two of the muffin cases are cut in half to form the body and two wings. The third muffin case just needs a tail cut from it. (If you are making more than one, you will not need 3 muffin cases per child as one muffin case will give you two bodies and you will get several tail pieces from the one muffin case.)
Glue the muffin case pieces onto a background using the picture below as a guide. Draw on an eye and either draw on a beak or glue on one cut from yellow or orange paper.