Introduction to the Fourth Week of Advent – Candle of Peace
The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6
The days seem more frequent when we are reminded that sometimes no matter how much we long for peace, it just isn’t there. News of accelerating hostility between nations, mass shootings among our own people and abuse and exploitation of the weak among family members and co-workers leave us to wonder if peace is ever attainable. The prophets lived in a similar time. A psalm of assent reflects the weariness of promoting peace: I’m doomed to live in Meshech, cursed with a home in Kedar, My whole life lived camping among quarreling neighbors. I’m all for peace, but the minute I tell them so, they go to war! (Psalm 120: 5-7, the Message).
Yet Isaiah envisioned a time in which bitter enemies, the weak and the strong, the hunter and the hunted, would be reconciled. A time in which they could trust one another enough to fall asleep beside one another. Is this possible? Advent reminds us that while we wait and long for this moment, the Prince of Peace has already conquered our fears that lead to confrontation, control and all out violence. With the good news that in Jesus we are made whole, those who follow in the master’s footsteps need no longer fear death. Rather, we live in the power of God’s shalom – God’s peace.
Sunday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
Peace as Contentment Pastor Bob Lee
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11, NIV)
At HRBC, we are thankful to have a wonderful partnership with Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation (CCP&R). We host classes and events for the “CCP&R 50+ Active Lifestyles” program. In October, CCP&R held one of its luncheons in the Family Life Center. Many active 50+ adults from HRBC attended and our church staff was invited as well. I was able to attend and enjoyed a delicious lunch along with entertainment by a local musician who sang many favorites.
While everyone was enjoying lunch, I walked around to visit folks at their tables. I got to meet some very nice people from our community. People are so appreciative that we host the CCP&R classes. In fact, several people told me how friendly and warm our church is. As I made my way around the room, I stopped to visit a table where a lady with special needs was sitting. I introduced myself to her and learned that her name was Penny. Penny was holding a beautiful gift basket that contained some note cards, snacks and some other neat items. She told me that she had won the basket as a door prize. Her eyes beamed with pride as she held it up to me. She showed me each item and I celebrated along with her!
Then Penny looked at me and asked, “Can I have a Bible?” “Absolutely!” I replied. And I told her I’d be right back. I left the FLC to find a Bible and ran into Matthew Hensley who was on his way back to the FLC. I told him about Penny’s request. We went into the Sunday School office where we keep a supply of Bibles for this very purpose. We picked out a nice, large-print, bonded-leather Bible for Penny. I went back into the FLC, bent down and handed the Bible to her. She started to cry and said, “Thank you . . . Thank you . . . Thank you!” She placed the Bible in her door-prize basket and gave me a big hug. She was content and at peace! And I met Jesus that day.