Here we are, coming into the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. Symbolically, we have lighted a candle in our Advent wreath each Sunday, signifying our move toward completeness. Sunday, we’ll light the final candle in the circle of light. It is altogether appropriate that the wreath is a circle in that a circle has no beginning and no end. While the season of Advent does conclude, the circle of light is eternal and invites us to go more deeply into our faith.
If you’ve been part of our Advent work, you know that each candle in the circle represents a theme for the season. First, hope, then love, then joy, and finally, this week, peace. Isaiah foresaw the one God would send as the “Prince of Peace (9:6).” What might it look like if we realized that God is interested in shalom peace on earth? What might it look like if the “fruit worthy of repentance” to use John the Baptizer's words in Luke and Matthew was our actively working for peace rather than simply getting our golden ticket of salvation punched?
Biblical peace, that condition of wholeness and completeness is God’s vision for planet earth. Shouldn’t it be ours too? Conflict has become the coin of the realm in our society. Anything that can strengthen tribal bonds and alienate the other side is celebrated and, frankly, monetized. We, the church, have fallen into the trap of tribal alienation rather that being an instrument of peace. This Advent season gives us time to pause and consider what we as a community of faith need to do to bring shalom at least to the corner of Winner Road and Northern Boulevard.
Back to the circle. By definition a circle is a continuous arc drawn around a foci or central point. The Advent wreath, the circle of light, also has a central point. That point is the light of the world, Jesus Christ, who’s birth Christmas celebrates. Consequently, we complete the Advent wreath on Christmas Eve as we light the central “Christ candle.”
Distilled to the basics, this is the season of Advent. Are you watching, waiting, and preparing to receive the great gift of God’s presence in our world?
See you Sunday.