In our time, we have a keen awareness of lurking darkness as close as family secrets and as distant as tribal genocide across the globe. As we approach Christmas and read the season’s scriptures about God’s promised light soon to be revealed, we are often even more aware of many shadows of darkness and despair in the world. Although our lives may be rooted in the joy and hope of Advent and Christmas, as God’s beloved people we are called to bear God’s light to others who walk the earth in places where that light seems absent.
This Christmas Eve, we who seek to follow Jesus receive profound clarity about how we are to live as children of God; in Jesus, God’s light shines for all to witness. And we, created in God’s image, have been given life so that this light can confront and lift the death-dealing darkness that threatens to snuff out life. As Christ-followers, we believe that if one of God’s children lives in “deep darkness,” then, in solidarity, we all do. Together we all must bear God’s light until life breaks through again.
The prophet Isaiah tells of this God-light, which is no longer a promise but now a reality that breaks through paralyzing, community-wounding darkness. If we, on this Eve, dare to open our eyes and hearts to this life-changing light, we will be witnesses “from this time onward” that there is no darkness too deep or thick to keep the Light of the world from breaking forth.
Beacon of love, Light of the world, may my heart, on this holy night of your birth, burn with such brightness that I radiate your love and light to others. Amen.
The boy Samuel worshiped and served God from a young age. He grows in stature and favor, the same description that will later be applied to the young Jesus in this week’s reading from Luke. The psalmist praises God for raising up a “horn” for the people. This “horn” is referred to elsewhere in the Psalms as being the True King from the line of David, identified later by Luke (1:69) as Jesus. Paul encourages the Colossians to let love rule in their community and to praise God with songs and hymns (such as the Psalms). The additional readings for this special week focus our minds on the Advent of the Lord, the amazing truth that “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14), as the prophets had prophesied long ago.
• Read Isaiah 9:2-7. Where in your world do you see darkness? What lies within your power to dispel it?
• Read Psalm 148. How have you witnessed creation praising the Creator?
• Read Colossians 3:12-17. With what qualities from this list do you clothe yourself daily?
• Read Luke 2:41-52. When has a not-as-usual occurrence generated anxiety in your life? How was it resolved?
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