“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
(Written by John, a beloved disciple of Jesus)
A funny thing happened on the way to the fireplace mantel… Adorned with a lovely Willow Tree Creche, garland, and a strand of lights connected to a timer, investigation was underway to discover why the timer was delayed an hour. My engineer husband would fix it. As he placed his hand against the wall to steady himself for delicate work of exploring the hidden receptacle, immediately the lights came on. We laughed, at the mysterious lighting. Static electricity? A brush of his sleeve adjusting the connection? Unexplained timing? …
Whatever happened, there was light. Windows on both sides of the mantel, were grey and bleak, with freezing rain covering the glass and yet the mini lights together, created a glow that warmed our hearts.
The Christmas tradition of lights on trees, garlands, around doorways, in windows, and candles glowing everywhere is a wonderful example of light overcoming darkness. The glowing lights represent the Babe born in a manger who is “the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.“
The Babe born in a manger is “the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
The Advent Wreath, we spoke of in the last blog represents the light the Christ Child brings to our world, and a reflecting light represents a gift he offers to those who believe. Hope, eternal hope, was the starting point. Christ’s followers have celebrated various gifts through the years, the most common, in addition to hope are: Peace, Love and Joy.
As a Christian I find amazing comfort in renewing my heart, mind, soul and body with these wonderful gifts available to me. Lighitng the candle, and watching the flame flicker, is a tangible call for me to make the connection with source of Light, that darkness can not extinguish. Doing so may seem as mysterious as touching the wall behind the mantel. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of Lights…” (James 1:17) But it is my part, to receive again, as if the first time, the gifts the Messiah brings, to help me live in a world so full of dark places.
It is my part, to receive again, as if the first time, the gifts the Messiah brings, to help me live in a world so full of dark places.
When I was writing Just Imagine, I never imagined a year like we have just lived. I felt called to help the church, and all the people in the church radiate the light of Christ, welcome and bring others to it. I believe that purpose still exits, but for now, living in forms of isolation and disconnect from family and other believers, we who embrace the Light of Christ, must rise up and live, “ I am the church, you are the church…”. In many ways we had delegated that responsibility to the institutional church, casually thinking, “the church is here, they can come if they are interested.”
What God did remind me to do in the book is to write at the end of every chapter, ways to grow our personal relationship with the living Lord; and in the Babe born in a manger, “lives all the fullness of God.” The book is all about relationships; first ours with the fullness of God, which leads to developing relationships with others, so they too might have the light, life, and yes the gifts Christ brings.
Our relationship with the fullness of God leads to developing relationships with others, so they too might have the light, life, and yes the gifts Christ brings.
Not only are those gifts for me, but they are mine to share. Who doesn’t need HOPE, PEACE, LOVE and JOY in today’s topsey turvey world? Today you may have your own struggles, but likely you will connect or be reminded of others who need the light Christ brings.
So today, lean in to check out your connection. While there may be no mini lights or a candle to ignite, turn on the flashlight of your phone, shine it in your face. In the translation of Eugene Peterson: “So my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light.”
Read these scriptures:
- Peace – Isaish 9: 6, 7a; John 16:33; I Peter 5; 7, 14, I Thessalonians 5:16-24
- Love – Matthew 22: 37-39; I John 4: 16-19; I Cornithians 13:7
- Joy – Luke 2: 10-11; Matthew 2 10-11; john 15: 8, 11
Pray the prayer on page 90 in Just Imagine : “Radiating Christ”, John Henry Cardinal Newman
Today take a Faith Step: Receive the light and carry it to someone who needs hope, peace, love and joy. God will light your path to them.
Just Imagining with you what will happen when we do,