Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Second Candle

The candle we lit last week Sunday on our advent wreath was the candle of peace.

I’m sorry, dear readers. For once, I am stumped. I have nothing to share with you. Peace on earth, the song the angels sang to the shepherds, is a mystery. God knows how much we all desire to have peace on our earth today. What a wonderful world it would be! Instead...well, you know the instead:  War. Violence. Hatred. Crime. Greed....

What was all that singing and rejoicing by the angels all about then? Jesus himself was a lightning rod of divisiveness, and his life was marked not only with good, but also attracted enemies, who waged acts of violence, anger and hatred. Now, centuries later, religion still causes wars. Peace on earth? Really?

I am at my wit's end and have decided to skip writing a blog this week when I read something that makes me sit up.

Marian Wright Edelman, a children’s advocate, quotes Edmond McDonald: “When God wants an important thing done in this world or a wrong righted, He goes about it in a very singular way. He doesn’t release thunderbolts or stir up earthquakes. God simply has a tiny baby born, perhaps of a very humble home, perhaps of a very humble mother. And God puts an idea or purpose into the mother’s heart. And she puts it in the baby’s mind, and then—God waits. The great events of this world are not battles and elections and earthquakes and thunderbolts. The great events are babies, for each child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged with humanity, but is still expecting goodwill to become incarnate in each human life.” Those babies, says Edelman, grow up to be Gandhis and Mandelas and Mother Theresas – and you and me, all charged with the mission to guide the earth toward peace, rather than conflict.  Each of us is a possibility, another channel through which peace could come to earth.

The dove with an olive branch is a universal symbol of peace.
I need to change the way I think of peace. I need to turn conventional thinking upside down. I’d like to stamp my foot and shout, “I want peace on earth, and I want it now!” But that’s not the message of the peace candle. Peace does not come about through a show of power, or forcing others to our wills. It does not come with rules and laws and treaties.  It comes as a child, vulnerable and helpless. At Christmas, we are reminded of the child in the manger, who grew up to spread a counter-cultural message, the only message that will bring about lasting peace: “Love one another, as I have loved you.”

Each of us is bound by invisible threads to every other person on the planet, and we all are bound to the earth that we walk on. The peace we’re looking for begins not with the end of wars, but much closer to home: it begins with me and you.

PS: I couldn't resist showing off the little wall hanging I wrote about last week. My grandson Solay (aged 6) designed and drew the tree, chose the fabrics and beads, and helped me sew the decorations to the tree. It was fun!


  1. Thanks Jessie for a Sunday starter! Love the handiwork - yours and Solay's

  2. hi Jess, we have never had world peace in our lives. Maybe it will come. Solay will always remember the time he sewed with this gramma, C