Today we are celebrating the second week in Advent. The word "Advent" means "arrival" or "coming". We use the wreath to prepare and ready ourselves for Christmas morning. The evergreen represents the life that can be given through Christ alone and the roundness of the wreath signifies that that life is everlasting. The lit candles remind us that Christ is the light of the world. While the tradition of the Advent wreath dates back to the 1600's, its significance still stands even today, in traditional and non-traditional services alike, as Christians come together to recognize the importance of bringing our focus back to the miracle of Christmas morning.
Today we will light the candle of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6--"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."
For some of us, Christmas is a time to gather with family and loved ones. But, also for some of us, Christmas is a difficult time, through family crises or differences that have grown between us and loved ones throughout the years. And, sometimes the memories surrounding this season are just difficult. This week is a significant week in Advent because it focuses on the truth that Christ is the Prince of Peace. We are encouraged to put aside differences and focus on peace--to focus on reconciliation--and to truly allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts. Christ's birth happened in the middle of great civil unrest, when the prayer for peace cried out throughout the country from God's people. And today we continue to pray for that peace--within our homes and around the world.
Let us pray.
Lord, make us your instruments of peace. Where there is hatred let us sow love, where there is injury, pardon, Where there is despair, hope, where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy. Oh, Divine Spirit, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. Let us focus on your peace and remember Your words that say 'Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.' In Christ's name, Amen.