Peace: The Second Candle of Advent
This Advent season I’m challenging those of us in ministry to take a few minutes each week to let God work in us, as we create moments for Him to work in others. Use this reflection on your own, with your family, or with your youth group as a way to re-center and focus in the midst of your busy week.
Passage for reflection: Isaiah 40
(For a family or youth group, you may wish to choose selected passages from these chapters to read together)
This week we reflect on the word “peace.” Don’t let the poetic words of Isaiah 40 fool you; this prophet’s message came at a time when that peace seemed like a far cry from reality. In our tumultuous times we need those images – like a shepherd (vs. 11), and engineer (vs. 12)- to draw us back into remembering that God is very much at work in the world and in our own lives.
Sometimes it’s tempting to think that finding peace is our own responsibility. But when God charges the prophet to “Cry out!” in verse 6, even Isaiah himself seems a little baffled as he replies… “What shall I cry?” We do have our own part to play in keeping order and balance in our lives and relationships– but something in this passage reminds us that even when we lose that balance, or things around us get out of control, true peace comes from allowing God to gather us in as His flock. Sometimes we just stand back and watch as He measures the waters in His hand.
Does your church ever sing the following song at Christmastime? If you haven’t had the time yet this season to slow down, breathe, and think about those words, here’s your chance:
“Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.”
– Charles Wesley
Whatever’s going on in your life this week, whether it’s in or out of your control—have peace, friends. It’s never out of God’s control.
As you light two Advent candles, think back on the ways that you saw hope in action over the last week. Pray together for situations that are in need of God’s peace—and remember that He is very much at work.
Here are three questions to get you thinking and talking about peace:
- What are some situations in me or around me that need a little peace?
- What signs do I see which tell me God is at work?
- How can I be a peacemaker this week?
Three ways to share peace with others this week:
- Reach out to someone you’ve been in conflict with lately, and think about what you can do to make things right.
- Send a Christmas card to someone you’ve lost touch with. Share a little about how God’s been working in your life, and ask them about what God’s been doing in theirs.
- Listen deeply to someone you know who is struggling to find peace. The gift of your time, prayer, and encouragement might be a big help.
Rachel Dodd is Director of Youth Discipleship for Kent UMC in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and an MDiv student at Fuller Theological Seminary. She and her husband Carl have been serving churches students and families in England and US for over 15 years, and have two daughters who keep life full of sparkles, adventure, and coffee.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.