Here in the week before Christmas, I am posting the advent Readings that we have been using this year at First Baptist Church. Here is Peace.
Leader: Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”. In the Christian season of Advent, we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas. This morning, we continue to light the advent candles as we move towards Christmas and the birth of Christ, Holy God made flesh.
People: As we light the candles, we continue our journey to Christmas in anticipation of the day when Christ will bring his perfect peace that passes all understanding.
[Light two purple candles.]
Leaders: Today we re-light the candle of hope. Now, we light the candle of peace, and as we do, we remember:
People: We remember that Christ alone is our ultimate source hope, and our source of true and ultimate peace.
Leaders: We remember Gods promise to Israel of a messiah who will bring everlasting peace when he restores all creation at the end of time.
People: We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins, and give us the peace with God that our hearts were designed for.
Leaders: We remember that in Christ, the God of peace became our prince of peace. The one who was forever in very nature God, in whom the fullness of deity dwells, came not as a destroying conquer, but a peaceful babe.
People: We remember that as we press forward in our world of chaos and conflict, we can do so with confidence knowing that he is the source of ultimate and everlasting peace, and the one who calms our hearts as we await his second coming.
Leaders: In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.(Psalm 4:8) The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! (Psalm 27:1-2, 13-14)
People: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end (Isaiah 9:7). Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men (Luke 2:14). Now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himslef is our peace (Ephesians 2:13-14).
Leaders: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.(John 14:27) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 4:6-7)
People: As we remember Christ's birth, and anticipate Christ's Glorious Return, may God grant us his perfect peace.
Together: Gracious God, who sent your Servants the Angels to announce the birth of Christ, our ultimate source of peace with God, as we light these candles this Advent season, we ask you to bring your peace into our hearts, our lives, our families, our communities, and our world, heal the division around us, and use us to bring your peace your broken world. And at all times, may we remember that you alone are the giver of lasting peace, both now, and forever. Amen.