The Peace Candle: Hope of Justice
“Peace is a joy so great, that even in this earthly and mortal life there is no word we hear with such pleasure, nothing we desire with such zest, or find to be more thoroughly gratifying.” - Augustine
The fourth Sunday of Advent is about Peace, and how this comes through Christ’s justice.
The candle lit on this Sunday is sometimes called “the Bethlehem Candle.” Bethlehem was sometimes called “the city of David,” because that is where King David was born. Likewise the prophets said that this was where the Christ child was to be born.
In 2 Samuel 7, we see this Peace at work through the wise rule of kings in the line of David, restoring justice to the land. Not all of David’s descendants ruled wisely, but when Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem, as a child of a virgin, and as the one visited by the Magi later, Jesus’ birth was special. Jesus’ rule on the throne of David served as a reminder to all of Israel that Jesus was truly “the Christ,” the promised King who would bring justice and Peace not only to the land of Israel, but to the whole world.
As Christians living at a future point in time, we know that Jesus Christ’s reign will last forever.
With this in mind, the Peace candle is lit to remind us of how God brings everlasting peace to this broken world, even as we look ahead to its full restoration with Christ’s return.
Lord, we celebrate the peace you have given to believers, but we also look forward to the day that this everlasting peace is truly realized throughout the world. We thank you for the gift of peace found in Jesus. We pray that this substantial peace – like the hope, love, and joy – would be felt in our lives, despite what we might be going through and despite the reality of sin. We pray for complete reconciliation in all conflicts that we have a part in, whether we are offended or we are the ones who offend. We pray this in Jesus’ name, and for your glory. Amen.
Ideas for Activities
1. Write a “thank you” note to a member of the police, fire department, EMS, or branch of the military. These are people who need a lot of encouragement and do not see a lot of “peace” in their jobs.
2. Write down the names of two people you have a conflict with. Maybe they’ve hurt you, or maybe you have hurt them. Consider contacting them to offer or ask for forgiveness and peace.