Confession admits that there is a weed in the garden. Remorse pulls it up. Repentance overturns the soil. Restitution plants a new seed. Forgiveness waters the soul and calls the spirit up to new life. Reconciliation celebrates new shoots.
World peace is defined as someday in the future when there is no more conflict. Personal peace is not that simple. Our lives can be full of conflict, and challenging circumstances everyday. But there is a peace that is greater than ourselves and beyond the understanding of this world.
The story of Christmas does not end with a baby sleeping “in heavenly peace”. The story continues beyond the song. The baby is the Prince of Peace and offers the way for us to make peace with God. A peace that holds our feet on the Rock when all else sinks, and anchors our soul when all else is swept away. A peace that speaks to our spirit during the storms of life and says, “Peace, be still.” This is not for some day in the future. This is for here and now, for all who embrace their King, just as Mary embraced her baby on that Christmas night so long ago.
The third Sunday of Advent is for joy. Our spirit and soul desperately search for it and may temporarily be satisfied with a fleeting imposter, but the joy so true, so pure, so unmistakeable and incomparable is found in Jesus. The miracle of Christmas makes room for Jesus in a manger. The miracle of joy makes room for Jesus in our heart. Let every heart prepare Him room – as a permanent resident – not just as a guest at Christmas. Joy to the world!
The wise men were on a journey of “not yets” long before they ever arrived at their destination. It was also a journey of hope because they believed they would find what they were searching for. We find Hope when we are hoping to find Him. The second candle at Advent reminds us that He is the Hope not only of our destination, but also of our present journey. Like a star, He lights a path for us to follow, and His rays of hope penetrate deep into the “not yets” of our hearts.
As we light the candle on our wreaths this First Advent Sunday, we join with Christendom today and from centuries past to enter a season of meaningful and joyful devotion. Together we freshly reflect toward the glorious mystery of God Incarnate, Christ Immanuel – God with us.
At Advent, we remember that without Him we are cold and empty stables. We humbly offer Him the straw of our lives. We ready our hearts and prepare Him room. We invite a King to find a resting place in our lowly mangers, and to come and warm our hearts again with new-born wonder and amazement. Come Lord Jesus