The Candle of Peace
The last candle of advent focuses our attention on is peace.
Peace—at the end of every thanksgiving, this five-letter word starts to pop up everywhere we look: on our walls, on our trees, and on our cards. The term has become a staple of the Christmas season, and I think, for reasons much more profound than how beautiful it appears in calligraphic form.
Each new Christmas brings with it a renewed longing for peace—world peace. We become hopeful once again, convincing ourselves that the coming new year will be different. The struggles, the fighting, the hatred - all of it - is relegated to a thing of the past. This year will be different. We are better people now. We have learned from our mistakes. It will be different.
Then next Christmas rolls around, and once again, we hear John Lennon’s “War is Over” on the airwaves, being reminded that peace has slipped through our fingers once again.
When the angels startled those shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth, they announced peace. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” was their message. Peace—the very longing of our hearts. With the birth of this King, peace was now possible.
But it was selective. Peace would be among those with whom he is pleased. This was a promise for those who would come to trust in what this child would accomplish. He would accomplish salvation and that salvation brings the ultimate peace: a peace with God. Though we may never in our earthly lives witness the peace that our globe longs for, we can have the peace that really matters—peace with God. This was all made possible because Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us.