Second Sunday of Advent: The Candle of Peace

Hello Friends,

Welcome to the Second Week of Advent! There are only 15 Days until Christmas…and let me tell you, I am certainly feeling the pressure and stress. I was looking at my schedule for the next two weeks, and there is not a single day when I don’t have something going on: Christmas Party, Caroling, Christmas Program, Helping at the Food Pantry, Attending Christmas Concerts, Leading Bible Studies and Worship Services, and making sure I get my work done for the week. I guess I can say, “Life is busy right now.”

Are you busy? Do you have a lot of stuff going on? Do you have a lot of homework to finish or tests to study for? Christmas is certainly an exciting time of the year, but it is also very busy. You know, if people were to ask me what I need for Christmas–I wouldn’t say my two front teeth or a hippopotamus–I would tell them that I need a little more “peace.” We all need peace in our life: moments and opportunities to relax and not do anything. But sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to experience that peace. Well, today is our lucky day because today, on this Second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of peace–of Christ’s gentle and comforting presence in our life. But before we talk about peace, let me remind you of what we talked about last week: The Candle of Hope.

One day a man with leprosy came to Jesus. The man knelt down before Jesus and said, “If you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus looked at the man and he felt love and compassion for him. He reached out his hand and touched the man and said, “I am willing, be clean.” Immediately, the leprosy left the man and he was cured.

Sometimes, we may find ourselves in a situation where we are uncomfortable, like when we had the chicken pox. But there may come a time in our lives when we find ourselves in a situation that is truly hopeless. When that happens, where can we turn? How do we find hope in a hopeless situation? We can turn to Jesus. When the situation is hopeless, Jesus is our only hope; and this hope came down from heaven on Christmas day.

As we look forward to Christmas day–paying attention to the signs of Christmas–we also look forward to the day when Jesus will come again, but we must have hope and lean on Jesus whenever we need him. Today we light the candle of hope on our advent wreath. Just as the people of Israel found hope in the promises of God, we find hope in Jesus’ promise that he will come again; and that like the sick man, will have love and compassion for each of us. What does it mean to have hope in Jesus?

Now today, we transition from hope to peace! Are any of you afraid of the dark? I was afraid of the dark when I was your age. Lots of people are afraid of the dark! Do you know what helped me feel better when I was afraid of the dark? I used to grab a teddy bear or a pillow or even a favorite blanket. Do any of you have either a stuffed animal, pillow, or blanket that you cuddle when you are scared?

We are all afraid at times. It is nothing to be ashamed of; even adults are sometimes afraid. Some of us may be afraid of the dark. Some may be afraid of the thunder and lightning that comes with a storm. Some may even be afraid of snakes, spiders, high places, and small places. In our life we are all scared of something. For example, I have to get things from the garage for Miss Emily (my wife) because there are spiders in the garage and she DOES NOT like spiders. Can you think of other things people are often afraid of? What are you afraid of?

Did you know that even people who followed Jesus were afraid? Why should they be afraid if they have Jesus walking with them? Although they had Jesus by their side they were still afraid. When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to return to His Father, they were afraid. What would happen to them? Would the enemies recognize them as His followers and try to harm them? Jesus knew that His disciples were afraid and He offered these words to comfort them. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. Don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I have told you: ‘I am going away, but I will come back to you again. I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me'” (John 14:23-29).

These words were a great comfort to His disciples and they are a great comfort to us today. When Jesus returned to His Father in heaven, He asked God to send the Holy Spirit to comfort His disciples until the day when He returned. That includes you and me! What a wonderful gift Jesus has given us: peace of mind and heart. We no longer have anything to fear. Whenever we find ourselves in the dark or in the storms of life, Jesus is with us. Jesus is our teddy bear, our pillow, and our favorite blanket. Jesus is the peace that brings us comfort every day. “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men,” is how an old Christmas carol sings.

On this Second Sunday of Advent, we light the candle of peace as a reminder that we must not be afraid: that Jesus will come to help us see in the light. When life gets busy and sometimes scary, remember the peace that Jesus gave his disciples because it is the same peace that he gives you. May the peace of Jesus comfort you today and every day.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, we thank You for the Holy Spirit who guides us and calms our fears. We also thank You for the promise that one day we will be in Heaven with You. And thank you for the peace that You give us every day to help us overcome our fears and assure us relaxation. May we experience a peace of mind and heart this Christmas. In His name we pray, amen.

Your Friend, Holy Spirit!

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