Advent is here. This Sunday will be the 2nd Sunday of Advent, and our reading for the day is The Story of the Shepherds from Luke 2. And it's a wonderful story, full of promise and hope. But for many among us, and even some of us, this season seems to lack promise and hope. There's no doubt that many people are struggling with one form of darkness or another in their lives, and sometimes this struggle seems greater during the holiday season. There's expectations of joy, happiness, and being merry! When oftentimes we feel anything but that. We see the lights, hear the music, paste on a smile, and frantically try to feel something that looks like Christmas … but instead we're faced with a dark night of the soul, mired in grief and disappointment. And at those times, it's easy for us to forget how pervasive light can be; stealing through the dark cracks in broken hearts, doing away with the shadows, pursuing us steadily, lovingly.
It's helpful not to forget that in the very first chapter of the Bible, in Genesis 1:3, when darkness was “over the deep” – God said, “Let there be light.” Our Almighty Creator was not content to let darkness remain on the earth, and He is not content to let darkness remain in our hearts. Instead, Christ comes down to BE the light, declaring “I am the light of the world; whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) He is the “Word made flesh”, who made His dwelling with us (John 1:14). The Gospel also states, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-4).
So, this Advent, we're going to spend the season with the Apostle John. And this week, he's going to continue the introduction to that light in John 1:6-8. And with that introduction will come great promise and great hope. Light was born in the form of a baby, “God in the child in the manger.” Therefore, as we prepare our hearts to welcome Christ, let us remember that He did not remain that baby in a manger – He entered into our humanity in order to enter into our darkness; to take it upon Himself, to eradicate suffering and evil and to bring us into His marvelous light. Let's take that truth and spend some time this Advent by praying for each other -- "May His light may shine on you this Christmas season!" I think that would be a wonderful gift. See you Sunday, Dr. Dave