Views from the Pews – Sunday, December 18, 2022

Brothers & Sisters:

During the four weeks in December, most churches will celebrate Advent, a season of expectation of the arrival of Christ, by lighting five candles. The first four, held in a wreath, are lit once a week, and the last one, churches will either light on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, depending on the calendar year.

Each of the five candles represents something different, an important element in the coming of Christ and our expectation of him. Three purple candles (Hope, Love, Peace), a pink candle (Joy), and a white candle (Christ) represent the five elements of the Christmas story.

This week, we’ll cover the fourth candle: the candle of peace.

What Is the Candle of Peace?                                                 One of the hallmarks of the Christmas story is when the angels appear to the shepherds and proclaim, “Peace on earth,” in Luke 2:14

Jesus brought about peace, in the most unexpected ways, when he arrived. The Jews, particularly the zealots, wanted a rebellion. They wanted their Savior to overturn the oppressive rule of the Romans and bring about peace in a violent way. 

But Jesus had something else in mind.  Jesus brings us peace in a number of ways.

First, he gives us inner peace. Because of his work on the cross, we have a chance to receive salvation and be indwelled by the Holy Spirit. This grants us an inner peace (John 14:27). Not only do we have the peace that comes from our assurance of salvation, but we also have the peace of mind knowing God will heal this broken world and will come again.

Second, as mentioned in the article above, we have peace with others. We put aside our differences (Galatians 3:28), especially with other believers, because we belong to the same family. We have the same purpose: to let others know about the peace of Christ.

The Hebrew word for peace: Shalom, goes far beyond not fighting with others or peace as we know it. As pointed out in the book Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be, shalom is, in essence, how things are meant to be: a slice of heaven. 

The peace of God allows us to look at others through heaven’s eyes and help guide the world to see God’s here and not-yet here kingdom. Peace from God, biblical peace, allows us to trust in God’s promises (Proverbs 3:5).

In a scary and violent world, the peace of God grants us a tranquility you cannot find anywhere else and offers a light to others who do not yet know that peace.