The Advent wreath is a circle and like liturgical colours, shapes are chosen deliberately. The circle of the wreath is meant to suggest everlasting life. The circle has no beginning and no ending. It is a symbol of forever and eternity.
I knew a woman who cared little for wreaths, be they
Advent, Christmas or just decorative. For her the association was one of death.
Understandably, I suppose, wreaths were once a common sight in grave yards. But
the reason they were common in graveyards is that those who placed them there
did so with a hope that a loved one is enjoying eternal life with God in
Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has
sent me, so I send you.” (John 20.21)
The deep desire we have, and I might add, that I think we share with God, is
peace. It is an eternal and ever-lasting peace. It is a peace that is free from
the threat of violence. It is a peace that creates a true sense of ease and
confidence in relationship with God and with one another.
Well, peace doesn’t just
happen. We have to work for it, we have to be open to it and sometimes we have
to demand it. I read about a Quaker community and everyday at prayers one of
the elders would ask the question, “Are you at peace with one another?” He
repeated the question until all were satisfied that they were, in fact, at
peace with one another. That certainly brings an interesting dynamic to our
“passing of the peace.”
Jesus is often called the Prince of Peace and if we
believe this, I mean, really believe this, we should be a people of peace. We
should expect peace amongst ourselves. We should work for it, be open to it and
demand it of others. We do the Lord’s work when we work for peace (in our
homes, communities and in the world).