On the second Sunday of Advent, we lit the peace candle at Friendship Community Church. Then we were given a few moments to write our own prayers for peace before walking forward to place them into a basket next to the burning light. I didn’t have nearly enough time or space on my 3×5 index card to write everything that I was feeling.
As a member of Friendship’s Worship Committee, I helped to design this new approach to observing Advent. But when we had those initial discussions a few weeks ago, I had no idea how meaningful I would find the practice.
I feel the darkness of this season more profoundly this year than any other time of my life. While the circumstances of my own life are relatively peaceful—and hopeful, loving, and joyful—I find it startlingly easy to get swept up by the spirit of fear and divisiveness that seems to characterize our nation and our world these days.
I don’t believe that the world is any darker or scarier a place than it has ever been throughout history. But given current events, I’m more dialed into that dark fear this year. I need the weekly—daily, hourly, minute-by-minute—reminder that a light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it.*
I need to remember that The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.**
I am grateful that my daily work is within a ministry of hope that is equipping a new generation of leaders to live for the One for whom we wait this Advent season. I find so much to celebrate about the stories I hear coming from campus, to know that college students are catching a vision for what it means to bring shalom into their classrooms and residence halls today, and into their families, communities, and workplaces in the future.
Jesus Christ used the CCO’s ministry to change my life so many years ago, and He continues to change students’ lives three decades years later.
Wishing you a blessed, hopeful, peaceful, loving, joy-filled Advent and a very merry Christmas.
*John 1:5 (NIV)
**John 1:14 (The Message)