This Sunday we lit the second candle of our advent wreaths, the candle of peace. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was just what I needed. I walked into church on Sunday morning exhausted and burned out; this is not only the season of Advent, but also the season of finals for anyone in college and the season of shopping for almost everyone.

Christmas time is supposed to instill a sense of peace in all of us, but for some reason, through the hustle and bustle of shopping and preparing, peace seems to be lacking. Everywhere you look you can see someone about to lose their cool, whether in a line at a store, driving down a busy road, or even just sitting at a table eating a meal. All I could focus on was rushing through this week to get home for Christmas break; that was however, until we started the lighting of the candles. Our liturgist said “Come and teach us the way of PEACE.” and hit me, I needed to find peace. Luke 1:78-79 says, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

He used His light of the candles to guide my heart towards peace. Every week our church does the “Passing of the Peace” but today out pastor stopped us and proposed we try a new way: He and the Deacon Associate walked down the aisle passing the peace to person at the end to then send down our pew; I attend church alone and I tend to sit at the end. Once Monty passed the peace to me, I just sat there in awe of how God had pushed into my life and showed me what I needed.

My campus pastor always ends her text messages and emails in “Shalom” (the Hebrew word for peace) and today it occurred to me that it was a subtle way to show me something that I have needed all semester and yet something that I have managed to continuously overlook. So what else could I be overlooking, or what could you be overlooking in your daily life? We all need peace of Christ in our everyday lives, even if it seems to be the most stressful of times, he’s there. Psalms 29:11 says, “The LORD will give strength to his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace”. Next time you read or hear “Christmas Blessings” just think, those include the blessings of peace. On Sunday I left church with a new sense of peace in my heart. I was no longer exhausted or burned out, I was content and filled. So now I send you Christmas Blessings and pass the peace on to you.

Rachel Rogers is a camp alumna and volunteer currently attending the University of Charleston in Charleston, W.V.

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