Advent Musing and Poem
As we journey through the Advent and Christmas season, bright and twinkling lights illuminate the way. Churches and families gather round the traditional Advent wreath, five candles lit one Sunday at a time during the four weeks of Advent with the final candle, the Christ Candle, burned on Christmas Eve.
Christmas trees, city streets and homes, large and small, shine in the darkness night after night, each demonstrating the power of light to overcome darkness, each a reminder of Jesus, the Light of the World.
Isaiah 9:2 (cf Mt 4:16) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light (Jesus); on those living in the land of deep darkness a light (Jesus) has dawned.
John 1:4-9 In him (Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of all humanity. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.
John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Jesus is The Light that overcomes the darkness, his light offers life to all. Yet this is not only true of Jesus for you too are called to shine into the darkness.
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Yes, you too “are the light of the world.” Sit with that for a moment. The same title Jesus ascribes to himself,“the light of the world,” he also declares to be true of you. What feelings stir within you? What are the challenges/invitations implicit in Jesus declaring you to be light for your world right now?
BUT wait there’s more! As the light of the world, you are expected, like Jesus, to shine brightly for all the world to see, so that, like Jesus, you will overcome darkness, offering life to others and bringing glory to God in heaven.
How does this happen? Well, according to Matthew 5:16, it is through your good works.
What are the good works you can do this Advent/Christmas season that will touch your community, the world, in the true spirit of Jesus and thus bring glory to God? Take time to prayerfully seek God’s guidance—volunteering, visiting, sending a note, offering acts of kindness to strangers, sharing resources. Be open in the moment to changing your plans, in order to seize God’s unexpected opportunities to love and serve others–to do good works.
NOTE: As you reflect on potential opportunities for doing good, it might be helpful to remember these words of Jesus, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” (Luke 4:18) and “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (Matthew 25:35-36)
May the lights of this season be reminders of Jesus, who He is and who you are in Christ, challenging/inviting you to live Jesus so that others may see your light and glorify God. May this be the Advent season when pervasive darkness is overcome with Jesus’ light and many come to know the fulness of life God has provided through the gift—that is Jesus. May it be so and may it be done through you.
The Light still shines
A Light that offers life, truth
A Light that overcomes darkness, ignorance
A Light that some seek to dim, to extinguish
A Light that has been, is being rejected
But the Light still shines
A light disfigured by some claiming it as their own
A light supporting nationalism, enmity, war
A light explaining away racism, downplaying dehumanization
A light shining on a select few
But the Light still shines—
A bondage breaking, sight restoring, status quo smashing Light
illuminating the darkness, offering life, freedom to all
A Light compelling clothing, feeding, companioning with
A Light commanding welcoming, sheltering, freeing
A Light seeking justice for the marginalized, the disenfranchised
A Light you are called to be in this world, for this world
And the Light still shines
A Light illuminating the image of God in each person
A Light of immeasurable love and compassion
A Light once clothed in flesh, undimmed by death
A Light of inextinguishable hope
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