During this second week of Advent, we light the peace candle also called the candle of preparation. We see the coming of peace in the most unlikely of circumstances. For a coming Messiah and King, a baby is born in a manger in a lowly state. Where you would expect the coming of a King to be a fanfare event celebrated by all, instead the birth of the Savior arrives in an animal stable out back because there was no room for them in the inn. The clutter of the world had pushed the coming king and Savior to the outskirts. But this would-be King would by no means remain there. He came to bring peace to all of the world.
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
– Romans 8:6, NIV
It is no coincidence that the candle of peace is also the candle of preparation. For all of the busyness of our lives does not seem to produce any peace within us. With all of the stuff and things we attempt to procure, there is no peace. With our achievements and personal striving, there is no peace. When our mind and attention rests on the things of this world, we will not find our peace but only turmoil. The world can only produce sin, chaos, and death, but with the coming of Jesus we anticipate the King who comes to establish peace by conquering all the things that pose a threat to our peace.
Peace Is Hard Fought
Peace is not simply two people agreeing not to fight. As people seek to claim they want peace, most of the time they imply that they want an end to the conflict. If people could stop fighting each other then they would get along entirely. Rather than addressing the conflicts that reside deep in the human heart, the craving is to stop the action and hope the heart of the issue is handled. This, however, is not the case. The conflict comes from an outpouring of what is within the heart. Peace cannot be kept by passive complicity. Peace must be forged.
The coming of peace is no passive process in which people stand idle as the world rests. Our hearts, without the presence and influence of God in our lives, desire the things that are not of Him. We are chaotic, sinful, and without hope. There isn’t no peace in a world devoid of God, no matter how idle a person may sit. Peace is fought for. It is snatched from the hands of death. It is plucked from the hands of those who seek destruction. The making of peace is a violent process that stands firmly against the things of this world and establishes salvation and life everlasting.
… But Not By Us
Yet, we must never forget that we are not the ones bringing peace. Advent shows us that the coming of peace is based solely in the coming Savior. For the same Savior who came as an infant child is the same God who turned the system on its head. He sacrificed himself on the cross in defiance of the reigning death and destruction. He snatched the world from the grips of condemnation and made it whole. Christ is our peace. We need only to be still in his presence.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
-Exodus 14:14, NIV
Do you need peace? Stand firmly in the presence and power of Jesus Christ. Pursue him with all of your might. Rest in the fullness of knowing who is our King and Conqueror. For whatever monsters may chase us and rob us of our peace, we stand still in the presence of God, our peacemaker, knowing that it is Him who fights for us. When shown in the light of true peace, the chaos of this world is shown for what it truly is, powerless. In the true light of our coming Savior, we have peace.
Christ has come to bring us peace. He will come again to finalize the peace of the world.