One of my favorite lessons about peace is something we teach our students in the Institute during our Peacemaking courses: peace is not the absence of conflict, but recognizing the presence of God in it.
The second candle on the Advent wreath is often called the “Bethlehem Candle,” and it represents how Jesus’ arrival on Earth signaled the arrival of true peace. Emmanuel – God with us – the very presence of God in human form, made peace possible. We can now access “peace that surpasses human understanding.”
I can think of so many people who need to hear about this peace. And I want to be able to share it with them. Some of these exercises and songs have helped me reflect on peace in a way that makes it easier to share with others. I hope they’ll help you and your family too.
A Traditional Activity: Reading the Nativity Story
The account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:1-20 is full of the imagery of peace, even during a time of conflict. Read this story together as a family, and talk about what it means for Jesus to be the “Prince of Peace” both then and now.
A Modern Twist: The Peace Jar
Take a glass jar and decorate it with symbols of peace like doves or olive branches. Throughout the week, encourage your family members to write down things they are thankful for or moments of peace they’ve experienced. Place these notes in the Peace Jar, and at the end of Advent, open it and read the messages together as a reminder of the peace in your lives.
A Traditional Song: “Silent Night”
“Silent Night” is a classic Christmas carol that embodies the peace of the Advent season. It tells the story of the silent, holy night when Jesus was born, bringing peace to the world. Singing this serene carol as a family can help you reflect on the tranquility of that sacred moment.
A Modern Song: “Prince of Peace” by Hillsong United
“Prince of Peace” by Hillsong United is a contemporary worship song that emphasizes the peace brought by Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Its lyrics invite reflection on how holding Christ’s peace is counter-cultural, and something we still need today. Singing this song together can help you both understand and communicate the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice, birth, life, death and resurrection.
Where are some places in your life that you need Jesus’ peace today? Feel free to reflect privately, or share your prayer requests in the comments. I’d love to pray for you.