Friday, December 9, 2016

Advent: Week 2—The Candle of Peace (or the Bethlehem Candle)

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2 KJV)

Note:  This is a re-post from last year with some editing.  I am currently in the process of discerning about writing some additional posts looking at Jesus’ birth prophesied in the Old Testament, so there may be a few additional posts in the coming weeks.

*A special time of year is upon us—the season of Advent.  On November 27, 2016, we marked the first Sunday of Advent; this post takes a look at the second candle.  To read the previous posts in my Advent series please see: Advent and The Candle of Hope

Word Cloud creation of K. Jolly, All rights reserved

Peace.  What is peace?  Peace—is it absence of conflict or discord?  How do we define peace?  Is it possible to experience peace in this world? 

Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 defines peace like this: In a general sense, a state of quiet or tranquillity; freedom from disturbance or agitation; applicable to society, to individuals, or to the temper of the mind.  Freedom from war with a foreign nation; public quiet.  Freedom from internal commotion or civil war.  Freedom from private quarrels, suits or disturbance.  Freedom from agitation or disturbance by the passions, as from fear, terror, anger, anxiety or the like; quietness of mind; tranquillity; calmness; quiet of conscience.”[1]

Peace, like hope, is defined differently in the Bible. In fact, the world’s definition and the biblical definition are at odds! 

The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. It is defined, simply, as: “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.”[2] Shalom is also used as a greeting, such as:  hello and good-bye.[3]

Peace in the Bible is defined like this: “…The biblical concept of peace is larger than that [dictionary definition] and rests heavily on the Hebrew root slm, which means ‘to be complete’ or ‘to be sound.’  The verb conveys both a dynamic and a static meaning’ to be complete or whole’ or ‘to live well.’….”[4] 

Banner at Trinity United Methodist Church--Albia, IA--Photo Credit: D. Wright

In Isaiah 9:6, we read and amazing prophecy about Jesus—He is the Prince of Peace!  Jesus, our Savior and Lord is Prince of Peace!  Let that sink in for a bit…  How amazing is that? 

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace
(Isaiah 9:6 KJV, emphasis mine)

How has Jesus allowed you to experience peace?  Salvation in Jesus brings us peace with God (there is no other way to have peace with God).  Romans 5:1 (KJV) states:  “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  What comfort this should bring to our hearts.  We can have inner peace, even when things around us are far from peaceful.

The world is full of conflict and violence.  Each day the news seems to overflow with war, rumors of war, terrorism, and acts of violence.  The answer to all of this will not be found in mankind.  Legislating morality is not possible!  The heart is the root of all the ugliness we see in the world today.  Heart issues are not touched by legislation (law). 
What, then, is the answer? 

The answer, I believe is not so much what as it is WHO.  Jesus is the answer!  He is Peace!  He is calm, peace in a crazy world.        

Word Cloud creation of K. Jolly, All rights reserved.

On the second Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Peace (or in some traditions it is the Bethlehem Candle).  The second Sunday of Advent reminds us that in Jesus we have true HOPE and PEACE.  Hope and peace that is true and solid—so true and solid that it lasts for all eternity.

Peace came to our violent and chaotic world in the form of a tiny, vulnerable baby born in Bethlehem.  Jesus came in such an unexpected way (despite the prophecies) that His own people, for the most part, missed Him.  Jesus brought radical ideas that really turned the world upside down.  He came not as a warrior but as a Savior (a Suffering Servant).  In His first coming, He came to establish God’s kingdom in the hearts of the humans He created. 

In His second coming, Jesus will come as a warrior king and then establish an earthly (a new heaven and a new earth) kingdom. 

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.  
(John 16:33 KJV)

Poinsettias and banner--Trinity UMC--Albia, IA--Photo credit: D. Wright 

Until then, we will wait with expectation that one day we will no longer live in a world full of hate and violence—keeping our eyes focused on the author and finisher of our faith—Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 12:2)! 

How have you experienced peace because of Jesus? 

Please do not forget your single friends, family, neighbors, or those in your church who will be alone on Christmas Day—consider inviting them to join with your family (no matter how simple and informal the gathering is)—the blessings will flow both ways!  Whatever you do, please do not tell them, “Oh, God is with you…” and then walk off, ignoring their hurting heart and heart-felt desire to fellowship with others on Christmas Day.  Do not assume they want to spend the day alone.  Your family may be the only family they will get to experience…EVER.  My prayer is that churches will not cancel services on Christmas Day—to do so is to miss the point of the day and season entirely.   

Please join with me in prayer:
Lord of Peace, thank You for coming and showing us how to live and how to treat others.  We are thankful for the peace that we can have with God through You.  Help us to prepare our hearts to welcome You anew.  Jesus, we are so lost without You—lost without HOPE or PEACE—yet with You as our Savior and Lord, we can have HOPE and PEACE. Guide us in sharing this HOPE and PEACE with those around us.  Thank You for making a way for us to return to the Father.  Remind us to shine our light in this dark world, so that others may discover Jesus too.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,



  1. I love the Biblical description of peace, Kim. It is so true that when we have Jesus living in us, we are whole and complete! He is always the more than enough we desire.
    Love and blessings, hope and peace!

    1. Martha, I love the Biblical description of peace, too. It's truly amazing how Jesus in us makes us whole and complete. Really, Jesus is all we need.

      Love and blessings, hope and peace!

  2. Hi Kim! I have a magnet on my refrigerator that says: "Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart." That always helps me when I get in a state of un-peace!
    Wishing you a week of peaceful reflection on your new posts, and inspired writing times,

    1. Hi Ceil! I love what your magnet states--so much wisdom. Thank you for your well wishes for inspired writing times!



  3. I LOVE that this is called the Peace candle...and I appreciate the further study you have done concerning this special Advent Candle and part of the events leading up to the Advent of Christ. I also love your word clouds...Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful posts. You are a blessing.

    1. Pam, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your encouragement. I'm thankful for good sources of information (provided by my now retired pastor) as well as additional study. Thank you for your kind words about my word clouds--I have no idea what I'm doing when using the site I found--evidently what I'm doing works!



All comments are moderated. Please use care in posting comments or replies. If you wouldn't say what you are writing in person, rethink your words. Remember words can build up or tear down. Speak the truth in love.