The second Sunday of Advent is when we light the candle of peace. This is a time of coming together, of building a community of faith that is open to all.
My sister, mother and I all like to watch the sappy Hallmark Christmas movies. I know, they are predictable, innocuous and a bit corny. However we all three know the ending is a good one. They are all stories of restoration, of broken relationships that are healed.
In the Second Advent candle being lit our journey home comes a step closer to the Christ candle. The call to come home means overcoming our fears that it won’t work the way we hope. When thinking of family, it is not only nuclear families we want to be working on their sense of home, but the whole community, the church, and the surrounding neighborhoods. There is division; there is unwelcome. Who is being left out? Who is not being welcomed, whether intentionally or not? Who is not here, and what would it take for them to feel welcomed, included, invited? For St. John’s it means committing to be an example of God’s Kingdom in our life together here on earth.
Perhaps this week invite a neighbor to a special event this season, Christmas Eve, or a music event. St. John’s has many music events happening. The truth is, some of your neighbors might just be too afraid to come unless you invite and promise to be with them throughout the whole event. Make a promise to meet them, introduce them, and escort them through the evening. The fear of home is real, but an invitation to return, despite their fears, into the loving embrace of a repentant family may be just what they need to find Peace.