Today we relight the candle of HOPE. Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of PEACE. As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace. From the prophet Isaiah:
“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” —Isaiah 9:6-7
From the Gospel of John: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”—John 14:27
Let us pray: Gracious God, Grant that we may find peace as we prepare for our Lord’s birth. May divisions in ourselves and in our families be peacefully resolved. May there be peace in our cities and in the countries of our world. Help us to see the paths of peace in our lives, and then give us the courage to follow them. Lord, let us remember that you only are the giver of lasting peace and that you are always with us. Amen.
The Gospel of Mark 1:1-8 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, “See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’” The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. John’s mission was to prepare the way for the Messiah, to make his paths straight. He did this by preaching in the wilderness, where he attracted great crowds, by calling people to repentance, by baptizing, and by heralding the one who was to come. “It’s not about me.” That was the root of John’s message. He preached about someone else, someone who would come after him whose sandal thongs John did not consider himself even worthy to tie. Those are especially important words today “It’s not about me.” We all have obligations to help and support one another. Remember the words of Matthew: “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” As our world becomes more and more vulnerable, we need to heed those important words. We need to give the hungry food, we need to give drink to those that are thirsty, we need to cloth those who are cold. We need to accept the obligations of those who need our help. By helping those in need it allows us to find peace within our hearts. As we follow in John’s footsteps crying out as we prepare the way for the Lord. Remember “it’s not about me”. We need to prepare the way with hope and peace.
Let us pray: Holy God, we ask you to help us make time for true preparations this Advent. In the midst of the rush of life, help us to find inner quietness and an awareness of your presence. Let this Christmas be a time when we focus more on others and their needs and utilize the spiritual gifts you give so unselfishly. This we pray in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.