The Candle of Peace: A Reflection for the Second Week of Advent

by Jessica Asbell

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.”

Luke 1:26-38 NIV

Mary and Joseph waited for a miracle to happen for nine months. They knew that Jesus, the Son of God, would change their whole lives. And so they waited with anticipation for Jesus’ birth. There are things we wait for that change our whole lives: perhaps it is a move to a different state, the birth of a sibling, or waiting to go to college. These are things we look forward to, but at the same time make us nervous. In moving to another state, we wonder if we will make new friends, if things will be good, and if we will like our new home. With the birth of a sibling, we worry if we’ll actually like him or her. As I waited for my sister to be born when I was seven, I told my mom that the baby had better be a girl because I was going to put a baby brother in the clothes hamper. I had prayed for a sister, and that’s what I was looking forward to. Any time a big change happens, we wait with excitement, but also with anxiety.

Mary and Joseph must’ve been the same way. Here they were, a young engaged couple, when all of a sudden an angel appears to tell Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God. How excited they must’ve been to meet Jesus! And yet how anxious they must’ve been that they were going to be his parents. Can you imagine trying to parent the Son of God? As Mary and Joseph prepared for Jesus, we too prepare for Jesus’ birthday. We prepare for the time when we remember how Jesus came into the messiness of this world to show everyone how great God’s love is.

Jesus also came to bring us peace. We can look around our world and things are not peaceful. But God gives us peace that we cannot understand, a peace that we feel deep within us. When we feel anxious about changes that are happening, we can pray for peace. And the God who knows us and who redeems us will also calm our nerves and anxiety and give us His peace. 

Reflection question: What changes have you gone through over the years? What was it like waiting for the change to happen? How did you prepare?

Prayer: Thank God for time to prepare for the celebration of Jesus' birth. Ask God to show you how you can help others who are going through big changes.