On the second Sunday in Advent we light The Bethlehem Candle. This signifies the difficulties Mary and Joseph faced on their pilgrimage to Bethlehem.
In our culture, we grow weary and tired for quite different reasons. Christmas shopping! We run around like maniacs trying to spend money we don’t have. The gifts for our families and friends are honorable. The gifts for people we see once a year, if even that frequently, put us into further debt out of a sense of obligation.
Don’t get me wrong. It is good and right to give gifts to people; but in North America we seem to have turned this charity into a festive fetish. I knew one family where the measure of your love was determined by the amount of money you spent on their Christmas gifts. Again, Brilliant!
For Mary and Joseph it was a journey of some difficulty as they returned to the city of their origin so they could be “counted” by their Roman governors. Aka— taxed. As our families travel and buy gifts for one another our government, too, should make out quite well this Christmas season. [What is the tax on $140 billion anyway?]
At least on this second Sunday in Advent, we need to remember that this season in the Church calendar is also a time of Peace and Preparation. It is a great time to make peace with God, to get things sorted out, confessed, and set straight. It is also a good time to set things straight with friends and neighbors.
As you celebrate this second week in Advent remember that Christ came to bring us peace with God, and one another. This is a great time of year to be a person-of-peace as you move about the frazzled frenzy of the crowds. You’ll be surprised at what this will do for you as well.
NEXT— ADVENT 3— JOY! The Shepherds Candle