Many who know me know that I love candles. I am drawn to the way that the flames dance. I am connected to the warmth that they provide to a room, and I crave the comfort that a candle brings to any space it’s in.
This past Friday was Bath and Body Works’ annual “$9.95 3-wick candle sale”, and I took full advantage of replenishing my supply of candles. After all, for me it is a spiritual practice. In the midst of lavender, spiced gingerbread, and sea salt candles is another truth, however. The truth that these candles also carry with them deep significance. They carry messages of hope, peace, joy, and love.
On Sunday, we lit the second candle on the Advent wreath - the peace candle. As I wander through this week with a lens of peace, I wonder what that means for us as a 2020 people. In a lot of ways, this year has been more peaceful. There have been longer periods of silence during days spent in our homes. There have been fewer alarm clock noises as the rush to school and work has changed. There have been evening walks greeted with the soundtrack of wind and dogs barking. There has been great peace.
But there has also been a great disruption of peace. There have been protests in the city streets and cries out in response to injustice. There has been increased polarization during a hard and long election season. There has been fear and worry and anxiety and unknown as we wear masks and pray for a vaccine. There has been a great absence of peace.
So - how do we hold both of these truths? How do we light a peace candle this year, in 2020, when we have felt deep peace and deep unrest in the same breath?
By clinging to the truth that has not changed - Jesus Christ brought peace to the world unlike any other. The birth of our Savior, that we celebrate year after year, reminds us that through the ever-changing years there is an always-constant God that desires a closeness to us that will bring a deep, abiding peace.
Beloved, there will surely be more days of unrest. However, there are so many more days of peace to come. As we live in this week of Advent peace, I invite you to light a candle. Look at the way that the small flame grows and shrinks as the air moves throughout the room. Watch the glow illuminate the physical space that you share with it.
You are worthy of the peace that we talk about each Advent season. Here is your invitation to experience it more fully this year.
January 15, 2021