This Advent season Dear Husband and I have been lighting Advent candles with the boys. I’ll admit, it doesn’t always happen on Sunday. Last week we didn’t get to it until Tuesday but it’s not the timing that matters to me, it’s getting it done at some point during the week. One pleasant surprise has been the enthusiasm of the boys to participate in this little ritual. Each week it has been them, not me, who pulls us all to the table.
Two weeks into Advent we lit the candle of peace. We read a scripture and then each talked about what peace means to us. Harry and Addison defined peace as being kind to other people, not fighting and getting along with others. Addison’s definition of peace was expanded to a broader view of humanity while Harry’s focused more on a more tangible audience of his friends and family.
My view of peace was more inward focused. I asked if someone could have peace in their heart if they need to forgive someone or need to ask forgiveness. The more I thought about it I wondered to myself if we could truly know peace in our mind and spirit if there was a lingering resentment over how someone treated us or guilt over how we had treated someone else. That type of peace starts with reconciliation. Seeking or granting forgiveness and then moving forward alongside that person. Giving the gift of letting go of hurt feelings and old grudges.
It turns out that something that sounds simple…peace, is actually pretty complicated. Our lives are so multifaceted, there are so many different compartments of our hearts; that while peace may be found in one room of our heart but missing from another. We hold so tightly to pain, grudges, insecurities, prejudices and preconceived notions that the idea of letting go to accept or offer forgiveness is daunting. If we let go of those negative feelings there will be an empty space. A space that can be filled with more negativity and bad habits or something new. Peace.
Finding peace can be complicated and hard to understand. Thankfully, we don’t have to fully understand it because there is a peace that passes all understanding. God made flesh.