During the final days of Advent, the anticipation increases as the birth of the Savior draws near. In the seven evenings before Christmas, this anticipation is marked by the “O” Antiphons. This liturgical tradition from the earliest days of the Church emphasizes a different prophetic title of Christ as foreshadowed by the prophet Isaiah. These are included in Evening Prayer on the final seven nights of Advent.
The Sixth "O" Antiphon O King of Nations, come. The hope and cornerstone who makes from many, one, you fashioned us in Eden— your earthen vessels, save.
A reading from Paul's letter to the Ephesians. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God. Ephesians 2:17-22
There is a universal longing for peace – peace between nations, political parties, our families and even our own hearts. This longing is especially poignant as we approach the season of Advent and the coming of our Lord.
As the Apostle Paul writes to the Ephesian church, Paul describes all of the riches that are theirs in Christ. In Ephesians 2:17-22, he explains how former enemies have been brought to unity and oneness through Christ. They can now be at peace with one another.
This was the promise made in Isaiah 9:6:
“Unto us a child is born…And his name will be called…Prince of Peace.”
Peace is hard to achieve and even harder to keep. But in Ephesians, Paul tells us the secret of peace. The secret of unity and oneness is a Person, Jesus Christ, where Paul states: “He himself is our peace.” And when Christ Jesus makes peace – between individuals or between nations, it is a peace that is satisfying, permanent, and genuine.
The problem with most of us is that we want to start by trying to resolve the conflict. God never starts with the conflict; He starts with the person. He says peace is a Person, and in order for us to live at peace with someone else, we must be at peace with the Person of Christ. If you have His peace, then you can start resolving the conflicts around you. I even saw that concept on a bumper sticker:
Know Christ, Know Peace
No Christ, No Peace
In this Advent season, may we long for the Prince of Peace to rule in our hearts, our families, our church and our world. “O King of Nations Come!”
By Mike Bacik
Lord God, fill our hearts with hope and our minds with welcome for your restoring grace so that our actions will be pleasing to you. May your peace, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.