“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.’” Luke 2:13-14 (NIV)
The fourth and final purple candle on an Advent Wreath is oftentimes called the Angels Candle, and it represents peace. It is traditionally lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent. It reminds us of the message the angels gave to the shepherds. It was not only a message of joy but one of peace. After the Angel of the Lord delivered the good news to the Shepherds of Jesus’ birth, suddenly, like a mighty choral refrain, a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.’” What a display of the glory of God that these Shepherds witnessed that night! Wow! Wouldn’t you like to have been there? The promise of peace wasn’t given to all men as some may think. If it were, then all men would experience peace. All of us need peace. Peace is the heart cry of every nation, even the ones at war. So, to whom was the promise of peace offered? The New International Version correctly translates the passage; “…peace to men on whom His (God’s) favor rests.” The favor of God is nothing less than grace! Grace is God’s Divine favor offered when we turn from our sin and, in brokenness, turn to Christ for forgiveness. Favor is getting something you don’t deserve. When we receive the favor of God, we experience peace! Grace offers us peace with God! Only when we’ve experienced peace with God may we also experience the peace of God. In the hectic pace of this season, God’s gift of Christmas is a gift of peace. May His favor rest on you and may you experience His peace!