Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled, The Second Sunday of Advent
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. — John 14:27 (New International Version)
Today is the second Sunday of Advent, a season of waiting, preparation, and repentance. It is a time to quiet our hearts, separate ourselves from the busyness of our fast-paced society, and turn our eyes to the promises of our coming Messiah. All around the world, on this Sunday, believers will light candles to illuminate the darkness and find peace among the shadows of our fallen human condition. Today, we join them and drive out the dark of night by setting our eyes on the promise of Christ and his coming by lighting the second advent candle (i.e., “The Bethlehem Candle”), which is the candle of peace. I have also curated a Spotify playlist centered on songs of peace to accompany this week. Nothing would make me happier than you joining this time of reflection, hope, and declaration.
Merriam-Webster defines peace as “a state of tranquility or quiet: such as freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”
Beginning on which translation you are reading, the word “peace” is found around 429 times in The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. For most of us, our go-to understanding of “peace” surrounds the absence of war and striving. The angel’s included that concept of peace within their sky-splitting proclamation to the shepherds. Still, the weight of the spiritual component of peace goes beyond our earthly understanding. The significance of peace given at Advent is righting the wrongs that stem from the fall of man in The Garden, and it is a peace that replaces our yearning for wholeness, connection, and calm.
For a child has been born — for us! The gift of a son — for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going with fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this. — Isaiah 9:6–7 (The Message Translation)
From His first recorded words, “Let there be!” God has declared over creation promises of peace, and the peace promised at Advent is our inheritance as believers. Prophecied and fulfilled, Christ is our “Prince of peace” [or our Prince of wholeness]. Even Christ’s last words (a promise to those who believe), noted in John 14:27, “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (New Living Translation)
The most authentic peace will never be on earth in its fullness until Jesus returns. So, with hearts full of hope, we look forward to Him returning to earth on this the second Sunday of Advent.
God grants me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen. — The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr