Can you feel it? Do you have the peace of Christmas? Some might think a question like that is crazy to ask in the midst of the countdown to Christmas. Anxiety, yes, heartburn, occasionally, panic, almost, but peace...can't remember what that feeling is. The last candle of the advent is the angel candle because it was the angel's message that there will be peace on earth.
What was the meaning of their message in Luke 2:14, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests? What is this peace about which the angels spoke? It is a peace that passes understanding. Turning your anxieties into prayers is your pathway to peace. The peace on earth the angels promised is for here and now. Eventually, Jesus will return to earth and bring peace through creating a whole new heaven and earth minus Satan, demons and unrepentant men and women. That day will come. But, the peace is to all men now.
Have you ever experienced peace in your soul in spite of turbulent surroundings? That kind of peace is the mark of a favored Christian. Peace is a natural byproduct of being in touch with the truth that you are favored by God. I love this story of the Irish priest who went out into the rural parish. As he was walking, he passed an older peasant praying by the side of the road. The priest commented, "You must really love God." The peasant looked up and said, "Yes, he's very fond of me." Here was an old peasant man, with little to have peace from a materialistic perspective. But, peace doesn't come from what you own. You don't receive it from how many people you know. It isn't achieved by doing great things. Peace is the lasting knowledge that you are favored by God. If you have God's favor, then literally, what else could you need?
I won't be surprised if your overwhelming feeling isn't peace this close to Christmas. You are most likely still wondering if you can afford just one more present, or how you can make both of those parties in between the basketball playoff games. Yes, it is most hectic in your life right now. Still, you can have peace. Follow Philippians 4:6-7 and 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. You can have peace. It comes through prayer. Why not pray about the things that have you anxious right now.
You will light the candle of peace this Christmas, not by never being anxious, but by praying about your anxieties. The flame of peace burns brighter with each prayer that you pray.
Remember on December 25th to light the Christ candle. It is the white candle in the middle of the wreath. It is lit when the light is brightest. When you light the candle, don't only welcome Christmas, welcome Jesus to our world. Welcome Jesus to your heart.
In this season of advent as we light the Christ candle we are reminded that Jesus not only came once, but has promised to return for us. The Christ candle represents the true meaning of advent–actively waiting for Christ to come back into our world, not as a suffering servant, but as the conquering hero. Christmas will soon come and go in the year 2002, but our waiting for Christ should be a year round endeavor. Jesus last words to His disciples before He left this earth were about watching and waiting and expecting His return. You light the Christ candle when you commit to live your lives in anticipation of Jesus' return. Are you living the way you would like to be living when Christ returns for you?
I wish you a blessed Christmas and delightful advent season.