We welcome the light. In 1974, a scientist discovered an ancient burial chamber in Newgrange, Ireland, that has a particular attachment to the Winter Solstice, the day after the longest night of the year. On the morning of December 21 (and a few days before and after), if there are no clouds, light streams in through a tiny hole above the door’s lintel for a few moments as the small porthole and the sun align. All other days, the cave-like structure remains dark.
From December to the middle of February, most of us in the northern hemisphere become weary of the winter dark, knowing that we come home from work in the dark and leave the next morning in the same darkness. Our sleep patterns change. We go to bed early and want to sleep later. We become more lethargic. We sometimes need more food. Our bodies are unaccustomed to the constant darkness. Then about early February, life seems to become normal again. We don’t have to turn on the car lights to drive to work in the morning, and we don’t start readying for bed the moment we return home from the workday. Our steps lighten, and we have more energy and zest.
Thank goodness for seasons of light and our body’s flexibility to adjust to both light and dark. But just as the weary international traveler knows the best way to recover from jet lag is to sit out in the sun, so do we know that this light of God has the power to provide the same kind of spiritual recovery.
May you walk into the light this week—the light of the sunshine on your face and the light of God’s love in your heart. May you find deep refreshment in both!
Popular conceptions of God sometimes mislead us. Messages coming even from within Christianity sometimes make us think that God is constantly angry, just waiting for us to slip up. This week’s readings remind us of the truth. Isaiah teaches us that God delights in God’s people just as a groom delights in his bride. This love, the psalmist proclaims, is steadfast and never-ending. The life of Jesus shows us that God even wants us to have a good time in this life. Jesus chooses a wedding as the place to perform his first sign. He multiplies the wine in order to multiply the enjoyment of the guests. Paul in First Corinthians speaks of spiritual gifts. These gifts are all given by God for the good of the entire community.
Read Isaiah 62:1-5. Recall a time when you have flourished and a time when your life was far from peace and order. How did you feel God’s delight in each situation?
Read Psalm 36:5-10. When have you felt God’s light, been quenched by the fountain of life, or taken refuge in the shadow of God’s wings?
Read 1 Corinthians 12:1-11. How can you use your God-given gifts to complement others’ and to support the common good?
Read John 2:1-11. How do Jesus’ miracles help you to understand his identity as the Son of God?
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