Third Sunday of Advent
The candle of unconditional love continues to burn. While its candle is diminished and appears smaller, perhaps weaker, its flame remains pure and profound. The candle of unceasing hope challenges us to commit ourselves to hope for ourselves, our neighbors, our enemies, and the Creation.
We light next the candle of peace: not just the cessation of violence, hate, or injustice. The Prince of Peace embodied the ideal of the harmony and unity of all things. This baffled and confounded the world he entered; it still baffles and confounds us.
Abiding peace, however, is a peace displayed in us and by us. It is intertwined with our very being. Abiding peace forces us to reach further than truces and ceasefires. Abiding peace requires that we choose God’s peace—ushered in gently while the cattle are lowing and the shepherds watch their flocks by night.
The candle of abiding peace is a beacon, a lighthouse. Its light promises safe sanctuary for the least, the lost, and the lonely. Its light offers safe passage without removing the dangers and threats around us. Its light affords hospitality for the hungry, comfort for the weary, and rest for the harassed.
Light this candle cautiously. Abiding peace is demonstrated in our relationships—with friends, lovers, neighbors, strangers, sojourners, and, more urgently, with those we believe to be our enemies. This candle speaks to us a quiet reminder about the reconciliation, harmony, and unity we exhibit in our lives—and sometimes the lack thereof. The candle of abiding peace also speaks for the church. It invites us actively to participate in God’s Shalom—and to acknowledge our complicity with our brothers and sisters when we fail to achieve it.
Kerry Krauss, pastor, Moravian Church
Sister Bay. Wisconsin