This year November 29th marks the first Sunday of Advent. The Advent season (yes, that’s what we call the four weeks leading up to Christmas!) is a time of bright lights. We’ll use them to illuminate our trees, houses, even skyscrapers. And just so, the metaphor of “light in darkness” is the dominant theme of Advent and Christmas. The first act of creation, according to the account in Genesis, was God’s announcement: “Let there be light!” This was the beginning of hope, and purpose, and thought. Darkness was (and still is) associated with the absence of hope, purpose, and thought.
Among messages of this holiday season, even in the challenge of this pandemic era, is that the light of Christ shines, still shines even amidst illness and tragedy. It shines from a lowly manger; it shines in the ancient words of prophets; it shines to encourage those who might despair. The light of Christ shines with the affirmation that God is still at work in the world, in spite of dangers, violence, and tragedies.
It may be challenging, even difficult, for folk to understand this at times. Those caught in terrible moments of trauma, accident, or grief struggle with darkness. Those for whom life’s promise seems to have passed them by wonder at the justice of it all. Folks who see no hope for rescue from disappointment may question the lights of Christmas.
But for those who seek a way out of the darkness of despair, those who seek the light of Christmas and the lights of candle glow and beautiful music can join us during our Wednesday Advent music services (previously held in the Schautz Memorial Chapel.) This year we hold the services at 5:30 P.M. in our sanctuary. You must continue to wear face masks, as on every Sunday morning. This year the Wednesday services will be recorded on video to be broadcast the following Sunday at 10:30 A.M. In all manner, we continue to celebrate the light of hope from prophet and gospel. The lantern lights of our Christmas Eve services this year are all metaphors for the hope of our world. Even in the darkest of times, the light will not be extinguished. It is visible for all who have eyes of faith.
Look for the light – let your light shine – share your light with others in need – these weeks and this Christmas.
In Christ’s Spirit,