This week we lit the Advent Candle of Peace. Of the four Advent candles (Hope, Peace, Joy, Love), it is the candle whose theme is the hardest for me. I’m not really so great at peace, sadly. Now, if there were a candle of worry, I would have that down pat. I’d burn that candle right to its wick year round, without so much as a pause for a reading.
Just off the top of my head, here are some of the things I worried about in 2014:
– I worried that my son would never catch up in his reading (he almost has)
– I worried that my daughter would not eat her lunch at school each day (she often hasn’t)
– I worried that I was not the right person to speak at a conference (it turned out fine)
– I worried that our neighbourhood school would close (it’s staying open)
– I worried that my son would not have friends at school when his friend moved to another part of town (he does)
– I worried that I would not have friends in my neighbourhood when my friend moved to another part of town (I do)
– I worried that that spot was cancer (it wasn’t)
– I worried that that pain was cancer (it wasn’t)
– I worried that people I loved had cancer (sometimes, they did)
– I worried that my dad’s back was not going to get better (it’s starting to)
– I worried that I talked too much about my sister who died in my sermons and on my blog and that people were getting annoyed with me (they may have)
– I worried that my hair was going grey (it is)
– I worried that I had hurt someone’s feelings (sometimes, I did)
– I worried that I had let people down (sometimes I did that too)
– I worried that I couldn’t keep up with connecting with the new people at church (it’s been hard)
– I worried that there were not more new people at church (there are plenty!)
– I worried that I would not choose Christmas gifts that my children would like (we’ll have to see)
– I worried that I would never get the smell of dog out of our furniture (we haven’t)
– I worried that I worry too much… (ironic, I know)
“Be at peace,” we are often told. Most days, I wish it were that simple.
“Do not worry,” Jesus said. “I’m going to need some help with that…” I reply.
For me, worrying is as much a part of most days as breathing. I can chalk it up to being a mom (“Don’t we all worry about our children?”), or to being raised in a family that believed that worrying actually helped a situation (“Let me know what’s going on, so I can worry with you!”), or to having a job where I carry the burdens of so many people (“Really!,” I tell people, “Let me worry with you!”). Whatever the reason, I go from worry to worry as I go from day to day and week to week until a whole year of worries adds up before me.
Until it is once again the second week of Advent – and time to light the candle of peace.
I hear read the words of the angels: “Do not be afraid! Peace to those on whom his favor rests!” And the candle of peace begins to burn.
I pause. I breathe. I pray: “Thank-you Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace – Lord, still, of my worried heart.”