During 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.
As mentioned in the Week 1 article for the Candle of Hope, this tradition’s roots started during the Middle Ages (perhaps as far back as the fourth or fifth century AD), but the advent candle wreath we’ve come to know today has solid historical origins from the 1800s onwards.
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, Peace, Joy), a pink candle (Love), and a white candle (Christ) represent the five elements of the Christmas story.
This week, we’ll cover the second 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. As mentioned in this article, 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.
What Does the Bible Say about Peace?
Not surprisingly, the Bible has a lot to say about peace, as it attributes peace to Jesus himself: the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
In fact, the word peace appears somewhere between 200-400 times in the Bible.
In addition to the items listed above, biblical peace:
- Guards our hearts from the devil (Philippians 4:7)
- Brings us joy (Proverbs 12:20)
- Is a blessing from God (Psalm 29:11)
- Assists us during dire circumstances (Isaiah 54:10)
Among dozens of other purposes.
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.
Why Does This Matter?
We live in an eye-for-an-eye, revenge culture. We also live in scary times. But the peace of God transcends our circumstances and world. With this, we can be rest assured that he will come and make everything right once more.
Our peace can also stir the curiosity of those who do not believe in Christ. They will see us exercise a spirit of tranquility, faith, and they will want to know the reason for our faith in shaky times.
When they ask, we can have a reason at the ready. “I am not afraid because I have the peace of Christ.”
Advent Wreath Prayer Week 2 — Peace
Heavenly Father, You are the God who gives peace. This second week of Advent causes us to remember that because of Jesus we can experience a Christmas free from turmoil and chaos. Regardless of our circumstances or our situations, you offer us peace that passes understanding.
That first Christmas, when you sent your Son, you sent the one who is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. Even the angels cried out, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” The angels knew your purpose. They know the gifts of hope, peace, joy, and love that Christmas held. They recognized that the fullness of God was wrapped in the tiny flesh of an infant as you humbled yourself and dwelt among us. Emmanuel. God with us as the baby Jesus.
That baby would grow to be the same God-man, Jesus, who would again humble himself to face death on a cruel cross as payment for our sin. He would triumphantly defeat sin and death and hell in order to cancel our sin debt and reconcile us to you, Father.
You exalted Him and gave him a name above all names. Every knee in heaven and earth and under the earth must bow to the name of Jesus. The winds and waves obey Him. He rules and reigns as king overall. No situation or circumstance that we find ourselves in is a match for Jesus.
We are able to have the fullness of peace in our hearts on Christmas day, and every day, because that same Jesus sits at your right hand in heaven and makes intercession for us. Not only that, but he paid our sin debt. He loves us with a love that is unfathomable. Nothing can separate us from His love. He is good and his plans for us are good.
Father, this second week of Advent, keep us in perfect peace as our mind is stayed on the truth of your powerful love. Thank you for your mighty, sovereign hand. Help us to trust fully in you and rest in the peace that you offer. It’s in the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Hope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a graduate of Taylor University's professional writing program. More than 500 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column "Hope's Hacks," tips and tricks to avoid writer's block, reaches 6,000+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young's blog. Her modern-day Daniel, Blaze, (Illuminate YA) released in June, and they contracted the sequel Den for July 2020. Find out more about her here.