the peace of obedience

The second candle of advent is the candle of peace.

It’s not hard to see why. Peace is what we all long for, even soldiers trained to wage war.

I was struck last Sunday by how the Christmas season centers on this yearning for peace, anticipated by prophets, promised by angels, and celebrated in song.

Isaiah sees the messiah this way:

He shall judge between the nations,
and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.
(Isaiah 2:4 ESV)

And it is the central promise of our Advent hymns. From O Come, O Come Emmanuel:

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.

And from Joy to the World:

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

And while these lyrics do not mention peace directly, they point the way. A world of peace is a world where God rules.

So when the angels announced “peace on earth, good will to men,” what they proclaimed was “a savior, which is Christ the Lord.”

This is the King of peace, which means we find it through obedience, not wishful thinking. It is not an idle dream, but an ultimate reality.

We just have to make peace with God.

The rest will follow.

Second in a series this year on the advent candles. See the wisdom of waiting (hope).

Also, see today’s advent reading, from the archives.

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