Last week we talked about Advent as something that is not just outside of us, but as something that is within us, as well. The things that these candles symbolize…Hope, Peace, Love and Joy…those are things that are ours only because Jesus came to save us from our sins. They are not things that are just out there somewhere, but by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, they are things that are within. They are in here.
Today we lit the candle of Peace. And just before we did that, we talked about the fact that man, really the City of Man, has been at war with God since the Fall of Adam. Let’s think about that in the context of other things we know. Paul tells us that we’re all slaves…so does Bob Dylan…it’s just a matter of whose slave we are. We can be slaves of sin or slaves of righteousness. If we state it another way, Satan can be our father, or Yahweh can be our Father. There really isn’t any middle ground. We are going to have a father, it’s just a question of which one.
Because Satan is the father of the City of Man, not only is the City of Man at war with God, but, indeed, the City of Man is always at war within itself. War with God just exhibits itself as war within the City of Man. That may look like the actual warfare that we think of…today is Pearl Harbor Day…and that is an outgrowth of the warfare with God….an outgrowth of sin. It may look like murders and killings…and police brutality. It may look like turmoil in homes…like homelessness and divorce…it exhibits in a lot of ways. But we know, do we not, from our own experience, that there is a loss of peace, indeed, there is no peace, in the City of Man.
The only place there is truly peace is in Christ. It is only in Christ that in our own homes, and in our own hearts, we can have peace, and really only in Christ that out there will there ever be true peace.
At Advent we can look back and see that there was a promise made to Adam, made to Eve, made to the serpent, that a day would come when sin would be dealt with. And we see hope…dealing with sin is going to bring peace. As we look back and see Jesus come, spend thirty-three years or so, and die on the cross so that we might be reconciled to God, so that might have peace with Him, peace within ourselves, and peace within Christ’s church. And at Advent we also look forward to a time when Christ will come again.
There is a time when Christ will come and all things will be made right. His Kingdom will be consummated, and, indeed, there will be peace over all the earth, because the knowledge of God, in Jesus Christ, will cover the earth as the waters cover the seas.
Let us look forward to that in anticipation, with joy and with hope.
Glory be to God.