The Angel's Candle of Peace
‘Tis the season I turn into the Grinch. It’s sad but true. I love so much about the Christmas season - the decorations, games, family, worship, carols, giving and getting gifts! I even like winter weather! But there comes a point in every holiday season, usually about a week or so before the day we celebrate that most magnificent miracle of God becoming a man so he could die in our place, pay for our sins, and restore us to paradise with him - where my grinchy feelings get loud and grouchy.
Even as I write this I see how silly it sounds. What does a perfectly wrapped gift have when compared to the life-altering grace we are given in Jesus Christ? The expectations are almost entirely my own. Yet the pressure I feel to create a Pinterest perfect, worship-filled holiday experience for my family weighs my heart down, pulling me away from the peace that characterizes this season.
It’s not any one particular thing I find difficult; it’s the culmination. All the things piled together against a deadline. Shipping, shopping, wrapping, baking, school, shows… they all come with deadlines. Blink and you’ll miss it.
On the Second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of Hope and the candle of Peace, remembering the message brought by the angels,
Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people he favors! (Luke 2:14)
The paradox I wrestle with this time of year is the relationship between work and rest, sanctification and faith, productivity and peace. The activity of Advent is a great illustration of how we move forward, participating in the waiting. It’s not always easy or even enjoyable but it is purposeful.
Peace is not the mere emotion of contentment or the calm around a storm. It is the calm of knowing the storm is not forever. Storms are a part of this busy, broken world. Pain and hardship are a part of life and sometimes even Christmas. The peace of God sustains us through the storms, the difficulties, the preparations, and the deadlines because from the very beginning He had a plan to be our salvation, to reconcile us to him and return us to the wholeness we were meant for.
“And again, Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse will appear, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; the Gentiles will hope in him.” Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.